The Shift Before Christmas*

By Molly Stark Dean 

In an effort to bring in the cheer this holiday, TVSpy has obtained a poem that reminds us what we’re really working for this Christmas.

As a young assignment desk editor at St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK, Steven K. Rosenbaum found that he was consistently spending Christmas — not to mention Thanksgiving, July 4th, Super Bowl Sunday, Arbor Day, etc. — in the newsroom.

“Looking at my haggard associates, grazing on catered food between assignments, I took it upon myself to place the imprimatur of television news on the beloved Christmas classic,” Rosenbaum, who now works for Fox News Channel as senior information specialist, told TVSpy. So here it is:


The Shift Before Christmas*

By Steven Rosenbaum

* with deepest appreciation and apologies to Clement Clark Moore

‘Twas the shift before Christmas and all through the station,

not a creature was stirring, nor graphics or animation.

The rundowns were set in the prompters with care, in hopes that an anchor soon would be there.

Young producers were napping, asleep in their chairs, dreaming of Emmys that would one day be theirs.

With my EP on vacation and I at “The Desk,” I sat down to my consoles to begin the day’s tests.

When up from the scanners their arose such a clatter, that I woke from my stupor to hear what was the matter.

Away from “The Desk,” I flew like a flash, I ran towards the door, it was truly a dash!

Halogen lights bathed the parking lot below, which was covered in ice, from non-shoveled snow.

When what in my sleep deprived eyes did appear, but a miniature sat-truck, and 8 weary reindeer,

with a gnarly old driver, so bitter (yet quick), I went with my gut that it must be St. Nick!

More rapid than eagles his curses they came, but because kids may read this, I’ll list them by name.

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer!, Prancer & Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

To the tops of the sat-dishes, make the engineers crawl!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!

As news can “break” in the blink of an eye, like making his page, he took to the sky!

So up to the roof with his reindeer he flew, with a sled full of toys and some good advice to.

And inside the studio, the anchors aloof, soon heard the noise of each tiny hoof.

And back at “The Desk” I had just made some calls when in came St. Nick to deck our news halls.

He was clad in station gear, from his head to his feet, and his clothes were all filthy from years on the street.

The bundle of toys that he had on his back could be considered a hazard, or bring heart attack!

His eyes, oh how bloodshot! His crow’s feet how deep! He slogged into the newsroom, just desperate for sleep!

His mouth was down-turned and I detected a frown, but his demeanor was touching I knew this was no clown.

And I laughed, when I saw him, in spite of myself, for I knew not to anger this gnarly old elf!

The butt of a cig was clenched in his teeth and the aroma of fast food made the image complete.

A grunt from his mouth and a weary nod from his head, soon let me know I had nothing to dread.

He gave me a look and started his work and said “Just manage that desk and don’t be a jerk!”

I stood very still, as if on a mission, then he gave some advice. Now you take a listen:

“Be kind to each other, give love and respect.

And remember your newsies are human beings too, that they tire, have bad days and even catch the flu.

So treat all with care and keep in mind this, for Christmas is one day, but I promise you this….the spirit’s inside you!

This you can’t miss!”

Then pinching his cig and wiping his nose, up to the roof and his his sat-truck he rose!

He took down the dish, he lowered the mast, he fired it up and was off in a flash!

But I heard him yell, as he drove out of sight…..

“Happy Christmas Dear Newsies! and to all a good night.”