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  • Writer's pictureRuss Newton

Fast Time. Made it in two days. Jim Lefko Pictured.

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

And that isn't the whole story. I met with a friend on Sunday at my home in San Antonio I made at the San Antonio Express News when we both worked there. Jim Lefko was the sports editor and I was the executive director of operations. And we both thought getting the Spurs result in the paper was a good idea. But when I took over our on time performance was very poor. So the Publisher who didn't feel the Spurs were that important gave us a 10pm starter, an hour plus earlier than normal deadline. And the Spurs game ended around 10:20pm most nights they played. So we were going to miss most of the print subscribers with the story. So I worked with Jim and we figured out it would take us about 25 minutes to plate the press up after the starter. So if his guys could write most of the game story and plug in the result we might be able to make it in the paper. And we did manage to get every game into the paper. And we also improved our on time performance relatively quickly and went back to our normal deadline.

The sad thing is they moved the Sports Editor under Houston and let Jim go. And then the moved the printing of the Express News from San Antonio to Houston and while I am not sure exactly when they go to press in Houston, I do know it is about 200 miles a 3+ hour drive from Houston to San Antonio. So I would guess they go to press no later than 10pm and probable earlier than that. For sure they are not getting any later breaking sports news in the print product. And I will take a cheap shot at this decision and point out we were over 100,000 print copies in 2016 when I got there and they are under 40,000 print copies today. Lots of reasons for sure but printing your paper 200 miles outside your market saves you money but costs you some subscribers.

So I met with Jim at 11AM on Sunday morning. He is now working at a TV station and showing a younger generation how to report. Stuff like two separate sources for example. It sounds like he is doing well there.

I should add in I had packed up most of my car the day before. So Jim left around 12:30pm and I decided to finish loading up and left my home in San Antonio for the last time at 2pm. I made it about 350 miles to Ardmore, OK and stayed there for the night. Well I was pretty keyed up and laid my head down at 11:30pm and woke up at 3:45am. I laid there for 15 minutes before I gave up and got up and showered and left for the day at 5:00am. Well I noticed I was making very good time thanks to an 80mph speed limit. (I have discovered that I can drive ten miles over the speed limit in this car and blow through a radar trap and not get a ticket) So by 10am I had covered 450 miles and I was showing an arrival time of 7pm at my home in Wisconsin. So I just kept an eye on the arrival time throughout the day and I stopped four or five times to refuel or go to the bathroom or just walk around. And when I would get back in the car it would show an arrival time of like 7:20pm but after driving for a couple of hours it would creep back down to 6:45pm. And that happen every time I stopped. So I hit mid state Iowa around 3pm and had only 300 miles to get home. So I just took my time and made it home at 6:46pm. 936 miles driven in one one day! And I went through at least five radar traps and didn't get pull over once. That was better mileage traveled than I used to get when I was 100% healthy and I am far from healthy now. I cough all the time and I am losing mobility quickly on my left side and my balance is for shit. But the level three automation on the car makes all the difference. I just have to steer the car and it does the rest. And I figure I took a total of 90 minutes of breaks, getting out of the car and walking (stumbling) around. And since I can't eat anything on the road, no time wasted there. But I did stop and inject some Jevity liquid protein around 10am and a bottle of Pedialyte. And then I am going to "eat" again after posting this. So I am feeling pretty good about making it 936 miles in one day!

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