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The Sunday SitRep


Those of you with time in the military, or who have just watched too many Tom Clancy movies, know that today’s alliterative titling comes from military shorthand for situation report.

We use a lot of shorthand here at NEWS24/680, trying to pack a boatload of information into character-limiting lines of text alerts, Tweets and other news missiles we use in this biz of ours.

Time spent doing what we do tends to leave us speaking in the argot of those we cover – moms and cops, pilots and firefighters. It’s an occupational hazard, and while it may make it possible for us to speak with those who use that particular form of language in their daily lives it also leaves others outside those circles often crinkling their brows and saying: “Hmmm, what?

Sometimes, it’s just easier to say SitRep than it is to encapsulate everything that transpires in a shift here in the News Bunker (another military reference, we know. Sorry.)

Take yesterday for example. Please. (Rodney Dangerfield rimshot).

Yesterday was cray-cray (for you kids in our audience), a Code Three Day (for you LEOs), and baffling for most everyone else, a mix of terror and pathos played out against the backdrop of a pretty nice suburban lifestyle marked by backyard pool parties and outdoor lunches – punctuated by the squeal of pinching tires, sirens… a gunshot.

One life was taken. Another, we would wager, was changed forever. People we know who have survived similar encounters carried the memories of those events with them over the course of their lives. One handed his weapon to his partner afterward and never picked up another gun. Another engraved the names of those he had encountered and killed on the fluted chambers of a custom-built revolver. Those two people, meeting strangers in the flash of a second that lasts a lifetime, had their lives irrevocably connected by the moment and that is a weighty thing.

Those of us on the outside looking in yesterday struggled to make sense of it all, our readership pinging us with texts, emails, phone calls and auto-generated ApplePhone messages (that was a first) asking for more information, for details, for updates.

When things finally settled down a bit and we were able to catch our breath again we were charmed to see our readers debating the merits of our news alerts – one arguing that $3 a month was too much to pay for such a thing, that news should be free, while those who get them maintained they were worth 10 times that figure, and that the person balking at the number probably spent at least that much on coffee every morning.

That you appeared to tackle the issue and debate it amongst yourselves while we struggled to get detailed information out to the readership was, we thought, really fun to see as it took us out of the loop and left the decision to you all, which is exactly where it should be. One reader wrote that he didn’t think we cared one way or another, and he was right, as our position has always been that you asked for a system to provide ultra-fast news alerts, we built it, made it affordable, and couldn’t care less if you sign up for it or not. We will say that it works, and that we have been pleased by the reception you’ve given The Flash – and, by extension, to us.

Others noted yesterday that we rather prophetically wrote about our sensing that something big was about to occur before all heck broke loose. And while we were thinking more about the decision our countrymen are about to make for themselves Nov. 6 we won’t deny that we’ve developed a “News Radar” (or NuzDar in mil-speak) and that it tingles from time to time. Yesterday, it was buzzing like a wasp trapped in a bottle.

We don’t know what’s behind all the recent travail. We do know that there’s an amped-up level of expectancy, possibly even of foreboding, that folks appear to be dealing with right now. It may explain some of the things we’ve been seeing lately, we’re not sure.

Of one thing we are certain: we hope to be around to figure it all out, and to get on with better times, in the near future.

Good luck to us all.


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