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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Inside the 'IDS' newsroom: The story behind the stories

What a night.\nThe firing of former men's basketball coach Bob Knight sparked discussion and debate on a national level. Closer to home, it caused rioting and divisiveness in Bloomington.\nIn the newsroom, it caused IDS reporters, editors, designers and photographers to take on new roles and hit the ground running.\nSunday afternoons are usually laid back in Ernie Pyle Hall. We are working on production for Monday's paper, but it's still the weekend.\nThat Sunday was different. Early in the morning, staff members were called in because there was a low media rumbling. Every major news organization knew what was happening. But until confirmation came from IU administration, until there were officials to quote, documents to cite, we had nothing to work with.\nFinally, the press conference was called in Indianapolis. Among the national news film crews and microphones our reporters were there, calling in quotes from their cell phones, trying to get back to a campus that was about to burst into action. \nMeanwhile, back in the newsroom, I was thrown a tape recorder and a notebook and told to be a reporter for the day. Usually, I was a copy editor. But that was true for everyone; there were so many roles to be filled, we became chameleons to fill them.\nUsually, we go out into the streets of Bloomington to find news. That day, the news came to us.\nCries of outrage that Bob Knight deserved better than what he got were mixed with cheers of jubilation that there was action that night, something to shout about.\nWhere should we go first? Rumors of riots were everywhere: where was the real news? We became marathon runners, sprinting from Assembly Hall to Bryan House to Dunn Meadow to Kirkwood Avenue to Showalter Fountain to the Arboretum to our own front door.\nIt turned out the action was everywhere. The stories were everywhere. The administration was reluctant to talk; the students wouldn't stop talking. \nSomewhere in the middle of the madness, we had to find a way to tell every aspect of these multifaceted stories.\nI hope we succeeded. \nThere wasn't much time to dwell on the finer points of coverage, because suddenly we weren't just covering the news: we were the news.\nCNN, affiliates from ESPN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and countless newspapers wanted to get into our newsroom, get our information, our angles, our quotes. How were we supposed to handle being in the spotlight? Like everything else that night, that week, we made decisions as we went along.\nDespite the excitement of that night, the fact that here we were in the middle of Big News, many staff members were somber. We watched angry and ecstatic and indifferent people file past the newsroom, some shouting in frustration, some shouting just to shout.\nFinding ourselves in the unique position of being both students and objective observers that night was simultaneously difficult and an honor. We experienced as many emotions, had as many opinions as every other Hoosier on this campus. \nStepping back from the hostility and the destruction on the part of some students, and the aura of secrecy and mishandling on the part of some administrators, I can't help but wonder if it was worth anything.

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