NPR’s Big Move (or Who Knew?)

I’m probably going to regret posting this because a) I got up at an ungodly hour today and b) my 11-year-old daughter just showed up at the door with three of her friends.

But I’m going to do it anyway, even though concentrating is about as futile as getting our giant dog Rodney to stop barking when it’s time for his daily walk.

For one thing, all my eyes want to do is close. And, if by some chance I were to nod off while reclining here in my favorite chair, I wouldn’t be asleep for long because of the other thing – the girls. Right now, they are singing along with Taylor Swift at the top of their lungs.

I could show them the door and cement my reputation as the “Mean Dad” of the neighborhood. But tangling with a pack of tween girls takes too much energy. So a word of warning – don’t expect much coherence.

I worked my first shift at NPR’s new headquarters building in northeast Washington, D.C. this weekend. The place is huge. It’s spacious. It’s modern. And, it’s clean. I could go on about its wonders, all of its bells and whistles, but let’s just say it’s quite an improvement over our old building near Chinatown.

I’m going on nine years at NPR, and yet only now do I feel like I just got called up from the minors. This is what “the show” is supposed to look and feel like. The only thing missing is a ballpark organist sounding the charge when I go into the studio to do a newscast and the wild cheers of an appreciative audience when it goes off like I’d just hit a home run.

But, while I’m taking great pleasure in exploring every nook and cranny of our new surroundings, I came to work this weekend feeling disconnected from my job. That’s because I wasn’t around when the runaway train seemed ready to careen off a cliff. Not only were tragic stories breaking, but they were happening while NPR was moving from its old HQ to its new one.

Saturday, as odd as it sounds, is the beginning of my work week instead of my weekend. The investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing was just getting started when I left for my regular days off. Plus, the deadly explosion at the fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas hadn’t even happened yet.

By the time I arrived at our new building in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the train seemed to have finally come into the station. The manhunt in and around Boston was over. The surviving suspect was captured. And, the people of West are left to mourn 14 people dead and a community in shambles.

It’s often left to those of us who work weekends to pick up the pieces left over from a busy, trying news week. And, that’s what we did. The only difference is, this time we did it in new surroundings.

NPR's new HQ. I like to call it "The Great Hall of NPR."
NPR’s new HQ. I like to call it “The Great Hall of NPR.”

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