- The Washington Times - Friday, May 17, 2002

High return on investments in teamwork and versatility

The prevalence of business and economic news in The Times has increased, both on the front page and inside, during our 20 years. Business stories grab one of the coveted seven slots on Page One at least several times a week, sometimes every day for a week.
Although the size of the business section hasn't varied much, business stories can be found throughout the paper. Political stories with a business angle frequently appear in the national section. Every day, editors on the business and foreign desks discuss which section will cover foreign economic news the Argentine crisis, the Concorde crash, the debut of the euro. The metropolitan section often reports stories involving neighborhood businesses, and sports added a reporter to cover "the business of sports" in 1999.
I joke with my eight reporters and three other editors about a slight change in the old expression, "There is no 'I' in team." I tell them, "Business: The 'us' comes before the 'I.'"
It sounds ridiculous, and it's meant to be a joke, but it also is a reality that the business section as well as the entire paper faces every day.
Although my reporters are assigned beats by industry, they first and foremost are considered general assignment reporters. On any given day, the tech reporter could write about Enron or the international trade reporter could write about insurance. Our commercial real estate reporter has written about everything from mad cow disease to media to gas prices. Actually, I think everyone on staff has written about gas prices. Fortunately, they all have a great attitude about being pulled off their beats to fill in the gaps.
This attitude was especially critical on September 11 the biggest news day of our lives and the several days following the attacks. Business reporters were used on metropolitan and national stories, asked to jump in on topics they knew nothing about at a moment's notice. Many wrote two stories a day and helped out on others.
They all exhibited the utmost professionalism and turned out a great section even as their other contributions were scattered throughout the paper. Months later, I am still proud of every one of them. Those were extremely trying circumstances, both professionally and personally, and the staff came through with flying colors.
Cathy Gainor, business editor

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