{Editor’s Column} Sigh away, it’s good for you

Reporter 1: You’re full of sighs today.
Reporter 2: That’s just how I breathe now.”
That quote comes from an entertaining Facebook page I’ve followed for several years called “Overheard in the Newsroom.” They post pithy comments and quotes that have been, or could be, heard in a newsroom. Some fun examples include:
“There’s a guy on the phone who’s mad about everything and wants to speak with someone.” (You have no idea how often this happens.)
“Designer: ‘How long is your story?’ Reporter: ‘Longer than short, but not long-long.’” (Something I never understood as a reporter, but understand now as a former designer and current editor.)
“Editor on phone: ‘Oh! Hi, how are you? Yeah. It’s all good here. You know, just staring into the abyss.’” (I haven’t actually said it, but I certainly feel it some days.)
But it’s the quote about sighing, which appeared last January, that has stuck with me. I don’t just sigh at work (though I’m frequently overheard sighing heavily at my desk), I sigh all the time, and have for years, according to my husband. At work I might sigh over an article full of grammatical disasters, or the fourth revision to an obituary half an hour before deadline, or an email from some disgruntled person who thinks it’s the newspaper’s job to broadcast his or her grievances to the world without any kind of fact-checking, verification or journalistic ethics. At home I sigh over the general disappointments of life: a broken appliance, mud tracked inside by the dogs just after I cleaned the floor, etc.
You might be a “sigher,” too. If you are, there’s good news. All that heavy sighing may be keeping you alive, according to the results of a study (http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-and-stanford-researchers-pinpoint-origin-of-sighing-reflex-in-the-brain) done by UCLA and Stanford researchers, “Heaving an unconscious sigh is a life-sustaining reflex that helps preserve lung function.” Apparently sighing, which occurs approximately every five minutes (or more when you’re under stress) is nature’s way of keeping the alveoli in the lungs from collapsing. So keep sighing. It’s probably good for you.

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I’m pleased to announce that we have filled the vacancy created by Jen Hill’s departure. Emma Vaughn, Rio Blanco County native, former independent candidate for county clerk, and once-upon-a time intern at the Herald Times under previous owner/editor Mitch Bettis, is joining our team to cover Rio Blanco County news. After following her campaign, I believe Emma has the kind of energy, commitment to the truth, and strong connections on both sides of the county to help us effectively “do” local journalism.

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We’re having an open house this Friday from 4-8 p.m. here at the Hugus Building upstairs. Come say hello, enjoy some snacks, and let us know what you’d like to see in the paper in the coming year. More coverage of local boards and districts? More feature/human interest stories? Comics? Weather? History? Toss out some ideas.

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Dante should have included moving in one of his multiple “circles of hell.”
There’s nothing like moving from one house to another to remind you that you’re harboring tons (literally) of unnecessary baggage: beat up furniture you couldn’t even give away, tax files from the 1990s, hoarded over-the-counter medications and cosmetics, and untold months worth of toaster crumbs which set themselves free at will during the moving process.
Four boxes into packing I wanted to set it all on fire. Now (finally) we’re in the unpacking process and I’m realizing how much of that process involves hiding things we’ve moved multiple times in new closets. It’s stuff we can’t seem to get rid of, but haven’t used in years.
Why do we keep it all? Why are we compelled to fill every closet and cupboard and room with more “things”? It’s an excellent question to ask as we head into the Christmas season, where we’re about to add even more stuff to the mix. What is our fascination with stuff? Something to think about as we start our Christmas shopping excursions!

By Niki Turner | niki@theheraldtimes.com

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