Patience is a virtue, the saying goes. Unfortunately, that’s not always one of mine.
However, Wednesday’s General Assignment shift reminded me of the importance of being patient — no matter how much I just want to know everything the minute I want to know it — and persistent.
Wednesday marked another day of snowstorm coverage at the Missourian, following two snowstorms that left Missouri and much of the Midwest with roughly 20 inches of snow in total. We began to focus more on the aftermath and the effects the storm would have.
My story about fallen tree limbs started off strong. By my 10 a.m. class, I’d talked with two tree removal companies and left messages with every other one in Columbia. I figured I’d have a few voicemails by the time I got back to the newsroom and would have the story out before noon.
Wrong. No one had called me back, so I made another round of calls to tree removal services, and someone finally picked up. I thought I was done, but then we found out about a news release Columbia Public Works was publishing that would update residents about tree limb disposal. Estimated time of publication? “Sometime after 1, before 4.”
I asked the editors if there would be another way to find that information, but they said there wasn’t, and that I should just wait for it in case the information proved to be updated and useful. Lo and behold, it was, and I’m glad I waited, even if that meant I had to race to my 3 p.m. exam after editing.
Later, at about 5 p.m., we heard through Twitter that Mediacom service was down for the second time in two days in Columbia. Ironically enough, Mediacom was the last number that had called — my Internet had problems that were not storm-related, and an automated message had called twice that day to remind me of an appointment I had scheduled. I called the company’s customer service number and received a busy signal, which wasn’t surprising because Twitter users were reporting outages across the country.
After an hour and a half of calling 10 Mediacom service numbers every five minutes and hearing nothing but busy signals, I received a call from an unknown toll-free number: Mediacom calling, yet again, to remind me of my appointment. This time, though, I took advantage of that service and asked to speak with a representative, and it worked.
After being on hold for half an hour (I now can tell you all about the ESPN deal the company’s offering in time for March Madness), I got through.The woman with whom I spoke in customer service was very nice when I told her I was not, in fact, calling about my account. She didn’t know what was going on, but she left my contact information with people who did.
Meanwhile, I’d found the phone number of one of the company’s spokeswomen and left a message. When she called me back while sitting in an airport between connecting flights, I told her about the situation — she had no idea what had occurred that afternoon. (That awkward moment when you break news to someone in public relations …)
After learning about the news, she made some calls and got back to me with the information I needed for the story. The accuracy check was rushed because she was boarding another flight, but I’m very thankful she took the time to speak with me and give me information I could convey to Columbia Mediacom customers.
When I finally left the newsroom at about 9 p.m. (13 hours later), I felt like I had not only accomplished something that day, but also had been reminded of two important words that begin with “P.” Patience and persistence really do pay off.