Laboring on Labor Day: the struggle is real

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Well, it’s Labor Day again. A nice long weekend for most folks to enjoy time outdoors with friends and family.

Obviously, not everyone is afforded that luxury. We all know first responders and medical professionals can’t take a rest and, of course, that humble local news reporters are trolling their respective beats looking for that perfect Labor Day angle.

Over the years we’ve brought you stories about the history of Labor Day; about folks more than glad to work on the holiday and to have a job in the first place.

But just to let you in on a little industry insider reality: for local news reporters on Labor Day — the struggle is real.

Most of us will call at least half a dozen potential sources and leave as many or more phone messages that likely won’t be returned until Tuesday at best.

After a few lackluster pitches in the WHNT News 19 morning editorial meeting, I decided to conduct a little experiment: Go online and just find a story.

I cordoned myself off in an unused office here at the station — no distractions, no interruptions — bound and determined to find a story. As you can imagine, with most prospective parties decidedly and happily out of the office, Labor Day news gathering can be a bit of a stretch for those of us laboring on Labor Day. So, in the interest of mixing things up we decided to take to the internet to see what people in our area were tweeting, posting, blogging, vlogging, or pinning about.

We scanned the gamut of social media networks. Using a site called trendsmap.com — we zeroed in on real-time local Twitter trends within a 50 mile radius of Huntsville.

The first thing abundantly apparent is that tons of people were spending Labor Day with their ‘bae’ — or wishing they had one. For those of you not up on your popular vernacular, ‘bae’ is an acronym for a significant other standing for ‘before anyone else’ — most often used  as a term of endearment and not in its context as a Danish word for poop. (*Also see, boo, baby or ‘boo thang’).

We were also able to learn TEDx has an event coming up in Huntsville on September 7.

What really caught my eye, though? A Huntsville-hosted small business expo — on Labor Day.

“Why on Labor Day? Because we wanted to be what Labor Day is all about,” explains Lillian Blake, owner of Huntsville’s Center for Personal and Professional Excellence. “We are small businesses here and we have several small businesses joining us in this event.”

Businesses from catering by 2 Men in a Kitchen to Iane Natural Skin Care to Touch Massage Therapy to a purveyor of products incongruous with some folks idea of Labor Day — Ivy’s selection of nonalcoholic sparking wines and ciders (for those who don’t wish to imbibe as part of their holiday celebration).

If you were too busy with other obligatory Labor Day activities to make it to the CPPE small business expo, another is planned for black Friday.

It just goes to show that there a tons of things going on this Labor Day besides lake or river pilgrimages and barbecues. And that, if you look hard enough, a local news reporter can even find a story.

What kept you busy — or blissfully relaxed — this Labor Day? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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