MY EARLY morning run through a beautiful stretch of Rock Creek Park is somewhat less rewarding than usual because I can't stop thinking about two things -- first, my car, which has been overheating, and second, the large number of tasks that have to be completed this week at work to make a Montreal shipping deadline (one week from today) in order to manage media activities there during the American Psychological Association's annual convention.
I realize that, above all, I can't get overheated. To that end, I buy and install a radiator cap on my car, an old MGB-GT.
Thirteen citations, which had been sent out for framing, and six checks requested from our Virginia business office arrive. My office administers an annual media competition for the American Psychological Foundation and we present the winners with their citations, and in fewer cases money, at a pre-convention reception. I stash the checks in a carry-to-Montreal pile. I get briefed regarding refreshments and room arrangements for both social hours we will host at the convention.
By 10:30, I settle in for a session of phone calls to convention presenters who are chairing sessions that look appropriate for news conferences. I did the real braintwisting job of choosing a list of possible sessions (from over 1,000 choices) the week before. I wait as long as possible to select conferences because convention papers pour into the office all summer and the most topical ones tend to arrive the latest.
I also wait to sniff out the sessions which might attract reporters who will ask questions. I often set up press conferences for these sessions in order to leave the psychologists alone with their professional colleagues as much as possible during their formal presentation.
And this year I have an added problem. There are four sessions which focus on various aspects of Three Mile Island and nuclear power in general, two of them at the same time on Tuesday and one too late on Friday to allow some reporters to attend. I arrange two conferences, one allowing coverage of both Tuesday sessions and the second pulling the Friday group up earlier in the week. With 45 simultaneous sessions for five days, full coverage of an APA convention is impossible. So everything I can think of to help reporters get integrated into our newsroom procedures.
After lunch, I complete five daily highlight sheets, listing events for each convention day. They will be enclosures for the press kits we need to assemble for shipping this week.
I proofread three news releases written last week which are now ready for copying in our print shop. Arrangements are made to have them picked up for mailing in the morning. I meet with our summer intern, whose main job it is to obtain and file papers being presented in Montreal. She has received over 600, so we make a final list of presenters to phone for papers. My entire staff of three will be working their first APA convention this year, so we have another of our regular meetings. I review air travel plans, advances, how much cash to bring and how to handle the currency exchange. I get phone calls from three reporters, two with convention questions, a third with questions on a story he is writing about the work week. I connect him with an industrial/organizational psychologist.
Bad news from our print shop. The two final inserts to a media guide handbook I'd been working on for six months are hung up. The first run of each looks terrible. I wanted to have all the individual pieces finished midweek so they could be assembled for the Montreal shipment.
A call from Iowa Public Radio requests more information on our Chinatown story currently on the UPI wire. Since we didn't originate it and the city in it is wrong, I call UPI and register a correction but get nowhere regarding the story's source. I cannot reach the psychologist who researched the material so I get back to IPR and suggest trying the school where the research was done.
My final chore of the day is writing notes to each of the psychologist members of the committee which works with my office. I share my thoughts with them about our Montreal symposium on marketing psychology in the public interest.
I feel leaden at the start of my usual Monday evening tap dancing class but quickly shed many of the day's tensions in response to the wacky therapy provided by my teacher in this campy, participatory art form. Tuesday
A threat of rain offers only illusory relief to the heat of previous days in my morning run.
Calling possible news conference participants takes priority again this morning. A few more commitments are offset by a setback which forces a reworking of my fragile schedule. At staff meeting we review our paper room which last year produced 75,000 sheets of paper for 170 journalists. We discuss local Montreal broadcast coverage.
I finally get serious enough to empty my in-basket, filled with a day and a half of whatever. I make two corrections on a draft of a news release originated by another organization mentioning APA's name, mail a copy and split for a long lunch with a friend.
My return brings another printing question on one of the media guide inserts.
More news conference calls are interspersed with final preparations for two news briefings. One, on hospital access for psychologists, just lost two people due to convention conflicts. On a trip to the ice machine, I learn that the Ohio attorney general will be in Montreal to accept an award from a group of psychologists. Ohio is the state where the access issue has been hottest in recent months. Could we get him to join us? After a few calls it looks good and my cohort proceeds to line up a fourth presenter.
Late afternoon brings agenda for the APA board of directors and council of representatives to my desk. I scan the title of each item, read some items in more detail.
Having learned by lesson once today, I empty my in-basket before leaving, taking home several phone numbers in the hope of reaching more news conference participants. Wednesday
Running on the first crisp morning of several weeks makes me feel wonderful. And themild anxiety I have been experiencing over arranging news conferences vanishes throughout the morning as calls are returned from all but one psychologist. By lunchtime the briefings are also ready. I write a news release summarizing our various conferences and briefings.
The afternoon is spent with a consultant and a co-worker discussing ways psychology can use radio time effectively. I have a long phone call with a psychologist about a grant proposal involving APA regarding some television spots designed to present practical aspects of psychology to news audiences. And I deal with my in-basket.
Any good feelings I might have had from leaving work early are dashed by rush-hour traffic. But my detour from 16th to Beach Drive begins a cool, mellowing process that continues through a picnic dinner at Wolf Trap listening to Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Thursday
I oversleep, but running to the tune of "Alice's Restaurant," which Arlo reluctantly revived for an enthusiastic yet wistful audience last evening, consoles me.
Both pieces of the media guide arrived at my office. I call to confirm pickup of the pieces. The driver assures me 200 will be back to us for shipment on Monday.
Information finally arrives from various departments within APA and I set about writing the final press kit item, a release summarizing the year's award winners. Fourteen names are ready by lunch.
In the afternoon, I get instructions about how to send late-arriving papers to Montreal through customs. We like to present as many papers as possible to journalists and are sympathetic with those which are written at the last minute.
I check what is ready for assembling in the press kits tomorrow. Thirteen items are ready. One has to be stapled. Another needs copying and then stapling. One still needs typing and then copying. Friday
My inner forces are not in sufficient balance to move me to run today. Arriving at work early, I begin copying and stapling the last of the kit enclosures and get my staff off and running on the assembly line required to produce the kits. g
I write a memo to each news conference participant, noting details we had discussed. I am staggered at the number of people who will present their findings at conferences within 4 1/2 days in Montreal. Would there, I wonder, be anywhere convenient for running?
By 6 p.m., my staff has 225 kits ready to go, including 15 special ones for APA board members. And I have 72 memos in the mail. Saturday
One of the most beautiful days of the summer finds me eating breakfast outside at 10 a.m. I don't go much further all day. After the events of the week, a list of practical chores are a pleasurable diversion.
By late afternoon, the yard looks beautiful without weeds and the 5 p.m. shadows on Rock Creek Park's foliage offer me a different view from my weekday morning runs. Evening brings the best live tap dancing I've ever seen, the Copasetics, under the stars at Carter Barron. Sunday
I lie in the sun and comtemplate the next day when we will pack 32 cartons, the next week when interviews with psychologists will be arranged and special requests of reporters will be answered and the next two to three weeks when we will resume office operations.
My first viewing of "The Empire Strikes Back" more than completes the week. Even better, my car has not overheated.