Sunday, 10 January 2021 – 17:40
The snowfall left two journalists locked in the newspaper’s headquarters, forced to spend the night there. “Between drawers there appears something like a blanket and a couple of armchairs become makeshift beds.”
last hour of the great snow
14 hours in the car under the storm
When you are a journalist, there are nights when that vocation bug scratches harder: tight elections; a sports final that is extended because surely, surely a Spaniard wins; a European summit that you never really know when it will end, an assault on the very Capitol of U.S.When, in addition, you are at the Closing Table of a newspaper like THE WORLD you know that the nights are your traveling companions, and that you arrive when other companions begin to leave.
You are part of a team that is something like the guardian of the pages and the same you have to answer a call from U.S like Brussels. But of course, you always have in mind to return home, even if it is at dawn. You never think that you might need a sleeping bag on Avenida de San Luis, 25, as happened on Saturday night.
When you leave home, you start your journey with the whirring in the ear of a historic snowfall in MadridBut we all know how hyperbolic journalists are sometimes. Even your son warns you: Be careful, dad … they say it’s going to snow a lot. But you hit the road, around 5 in the afternoon, and the highways are reasonably clean, with little traffic and you arrive at the newsroom with complete tranquility, although the snowflakes already threaten your head.
The afternoon advances and the night begins to be confused with the white of the snow. Where do you live, angel? In Casarrubios, a town of Toledo, but come on, that sounds far, but along the Extremadura highway it doesn’t take long, it’s stuck to Mstoles. Jos Carlos He lives there too and he can tell you. Don’t be silly, and go, things are starting to get ugly … You accept the invitation, for that of sleeping in a bed, and when you already have the mat ready you see by alerts that the M-40 and the M-30 are cut. Bad business, neighbor … Go looking for an office, we sleep here today.
Around 9 o’clock, the snow accumulated on the streets is so high that you are clear that, unless they go to work at the same time UME, the snowplows and Supermn himself, by car he does not leave the newsroom. There is the alternative of public transport, but they soon announce that Cercanas is canceled and there are problems on certain metro lines. With one eye on the DGT, on the Army and on many other Twitter accounts, and with the other on the closing of the newspaper, night comes and you know that at home you don’t sleep. The streets no longer look like Madrid. You haven’t been to Siberia o en Laponiabut when you see a guy in a dogsled in Moratalaz you think that between the two landscapes there should not be many differences.
Where is there a hotel?
It’s 10:30 p.m. At the last minute the cover photo is changed because a very good one has arrived from the chaos of Madrid. The newspaper is closed and there are hardly any people left in the newsroom … After finishing the second edition, those few people are counted on the fingers of one hand and there are three left over: the one who subscribes and Jos Carlos, a layout designer. The security folks have company tonight.
Any newsroom is ready to cover 24-hour news, but not to become a hotel. Something like a blanket appears between drawers and cabinets and a couple of armchairs become makeshift beds. That’s when you miss the sleeping bag. On the clock the hours pass with the same lightness with which snow falls. From the newsroom sales, the image is authentically polar: red sky, blizzard and snow that does not stop increasing. The stairway to the main entrance is no longer visible … When does the sun rise? It’s almost eight o’clock, I don’t think it’s late.
After a machine chocolate and an industrial bun, we can’t ask for more from the buffet, you have breakfast with the messages of the companions. Easy, the newsroom has been protected. You see the snow and you are afraid that the blanket that you found in the closet should not be kept much, but soon the call appears, always saving, from Elena, the secretary: Don’t worry, I’m looking for a nearby hotel and tonight you are going there . Not like a camping trip in St. Louis, but where’s a good bed …
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism