I heard someone say the other day that he never hears the term multitasking anymore because now with all that we do, and how often we stay connected, multitasking is just what we do.  It isn’t something to brag about on resume.  Okay, he has a good point and no, I personally wouldn’t point out and claim to be good at multitasking on a resume.  I wouldn’t have to because more often than not Assignment Editor is a synonym for multitasking.


One afternoon last week during the afternoon editorial meeting I answered two phone calls back-to-back.  The first was from a reporter who needed information looked up and passed on to her.  The second was an update on a story the producers had been waiting for so they could update the scripts.  Updating producers was going to be the least-timely task, so I walked to the editorial meeting to announce it to everyone at once.


As I walked in I was informed stories were changing and a press conference we weren’t originally going to be able to attend, was now a priority.  It was a little after 2 p.m. and the press conference was over 40-minutes away.  Then I was handed a memo to review before it was sent out to the staff.  My plate went from being pretty empty to overfilled.


I quickly prioritized the tasks and went to work.   First priority was making crews available to cover the press conference and to handle the changes in the stories that were decided.  Yes, I had to MAKE crews be available.  Every single person in was working.  I had to ask editing to pick up another edit; to edit an entire package so I could use the photographer on another assignment.  Eventually I was able to free up two photographers so they could work elsewhere.


Then I did the research, the very first, original task I was given, and passed on the information to the reporter.  As I was doing this my coworker heard over the scanner that a helicopter was making an emergency landing on a major roadway.  That of course changed everything again.  Thankfully, I had just freed up the two photographers so the assignments I gave them, were changed again to move them to the breaking news.


In the end, the helicopter was not making an emergency landing, but was a medical copter making an emergency landing for a person who needed immediate medical attention and couldn’t even wait to be transported by ambulance.  By the time the first photographer arrived on scene the situation was over.


This whole event however, prevented us from making it to the 3 p.m. press conference.  We did put the second photographer back to his original assignment.  When I say original I mean the new assignment I gave him after he’d already worked a full morning on another story. 


This is all done while answering phone calls; reviewing, sorting and filing emails; updating two Twitter accounts, @cbs4denver and @MistyMontano; calling Public Information Officers to either get information, to tell them our press conference coverage plans, and to cancel an interview that had been set up; and keeping producers and crews informed on plans and circumstances as they change.


I even reviewed the memo I was given.  I found one error the word “sent” needed to be “send.”  All of this was done in less than an hour.