Artwork by Todd Marshall - Rajasaurus narmadensisRajasaurus was the king of the dinosaur pile, but he didn’t make the cutting room floor. The blackouts in DC yesterday reminded me of my own sad blackout story, when I was a lowly intern at NPR.

One of our most famous dinosaur experts, Paul Sereno, had just discovered a new species of dinosaur. Pretty famous guy. A new dinosaur discovery doesn’t happen every day. But it still didn’t trump, say, stories about coal-powered hydrogen production, so they gave me the story to see if I could do something with it.

I spent one or two frantic days pulling together the story, doing interviews, working nights, editing, recording and re-recording, and we had it… just right… This was one of those one-minute stories that run on the hour at NPR. You would be amazed at how hard it is to pull one of those together, to distill a story to its essential elements in just about 5 sentences. It was slated to go on the air in the afternoon, during one of the hourly newscasts.

And then the great Northeast blackout of 2003 hit. We weren’t hit in DC but, well, we had to cover it. It turned out to be the biggest blackout in US history. All hands on deck. At the science desk, of course, we had to find out as much as we could about the power grid and why the blackout happened. Joe Palca did several two-ways (where the host and the reporter “chat” about a topic) where he just repeated the same information over and over and talked about past blackouts. And, of course, Rajasaurus never got on the air.

Here’s what wikipedia has to say about Rajasaurus.

And, just for you, here is my original story that didn’t air. I liked this story. Too bad.

You can find all my NPR stories here (scroll down to the NPR logos).

Artwork by Todd Marshall

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