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Jason Lloyd: Dinners interrupted, vacations ruined ... the footnote

By Jason Lloyd Published: March 16, 2014
Byron sitting dejected
The timing of Byron Scott's firing last year was terrible for a beat writer trying to get home after a long season. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

LOS ANGELES: I received a lot of feedback from today’s column on handling breaking news and a few people e-mailed me asking for more stories. So here’s one I should’ve included in the column.

I knew Byron Scott was getting fired the day after last season ended and I knew it was happening in the morning. Except there was a problem: I was scheduled to fly home from Charlotte that morning.

I’d known for months some people within the organization were unhappy with Scott’s performance and really didn’t want to get beat on this story. Usually I take the approach of “win some, lose some” in terms of breaking stories, but this one I really wanted because I had invested a lot of time and effort into it.

As my plane pushed back from the gate, I was violating every FAA law known to man. My cell phone was still on and certainly wasn’t in airplane mode. As we taxied down the runway, I was frantically texting everyone I could think of within the organization asking if it was over. No one would confirm. Shortly after takeoff, I lost my cell service.

That flight was the longest hour of my life. As we were landing and service on my phone was restoring, I held my breath as all the text messages/e-mails/voicemails/tweets loaded, convinced I’d have 30 texts about how Scott had been fired because someone else broke the story.

Instead, nothing.

I quickly resumed my barrage of texts and phone calls. Finally, I guess sometime around noon, I got it confirmed. Scott had been fired. I was standing in a parking lot, but I had written the story days ago. I simply called the office and had the desk tweet out the news with the story link. The team announced the firing about 20 minutes later. All part of a day in the life…

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