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Optimistic Journalist Loses His Job Again (Part 1)

Aaron Panhurst is staying positive about it

By Scott ChristensonPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 3 min read
Optimistic Journalist Loses His Job Again (Part 1)
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Living in today’s torrent of negative news, my former colleague Austin Panhurst remains a beacon of optimism. His glass-half-full, we're all in this together attitude spreads sunshine onto all those around him.

In 1999, when computer experts predicted the Y2K computer error would bring airliners plummeting to the ground, and nuclear reactors blasting into space, Aaron had a different take.

On live television on the evening of Dec 31st, 1999, possessing the confidence that only a happy childhood can give, Austin predicted:

“Tomorrow, I think things will be pretty much the same as the day before.”

Audience numbers immediately plummeted.

Viewers, relieved to hear that all was well, turned off their TVs, unpacked their emergency party supplies, and called friends over to celebrate New Year's Eve.

By ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Other television networks continued to predict “the end of everything” until mid-morning on Jan 1st.

This held their viewers’ attention. And left them happily exhausted in the knowledge that they responsibly watched the updates on this near critical situation for 36 hours non-stop. Just in case the nuclear reactor exploded, they could have gone over there and helped put out the flames.

By Mads Eneqvist on Unsplash

Later that day, Austin was terminated. In shock at being the only victim of Jan 1st, he asked:

“Why me? I was just trying to help people and I totally got it right!”

Aaron’s station manager at WDL Spokane gave an ‘off the record’ comment, which I quote verbatim below:

“Austin didn’t understand we wanted to sell both the news, and the home shopping network, for people to take their minds off all the bad news once they've had their fill."

Aaron may have lacked the ideal personality to be an award-winning journalist, but his ability to predict the future was undeniable

He correctly predicted the consequence of 24 years of presidential elections, economic jolts, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and celebrity breakups.

“Despite today’s shocking events, things should pretty much return to normal soon.”

After 9/11, he thought it clever to make an analogy between Osama bin Laden, and the fact that most writers have only one good novel in them.

“Osama bin Laden’s 15 Minutes of Fame” — Wikimedia Commons

“Don’t worry! It’s a one time thing,”

Aaron shared his opinion with anyone who asked.

That comment alone would have lost Aaron his job. His saving grace was that he was the only one willing to fly commercial air flights on September 13th. The Catastrophe Cable News network needed someone to cover breaking news of things staying pretty much the same in Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami after 9/11.

Other notable times when Aaron kept his cool under pressure in a newsroom of panicking journalists:

2005 – North Korea develops nuclear weapons, and could attack California.

Screenshot by Author— Google News

“Kim has an interesting hairstyle, I’ll give you that. I don’t think he wants to nuke California. Where else would he get his films from? North Korea having bad films should keep us safe for decades.”

2009 – Joaquin Phoenix quits acting and throws his career away.

Screenshot by Author— Google News

“People don’t always mean what they say. When Joaquin returns to acting, he will be just as good, maybe even better.”

ISIS and/or Ebola is about to reach America (and we’re all going to die)

Screenshot by Author— Google News

“All pandemics and terrorist movements have one thing in common. They eventuall came to an end.”

He lost his job on each of these gaffes.

Bur because he was such a nice guy, Aaron kept receiving job interviews.

By LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash


The end of Part 1 of the Aaron Panhurst story, a man too positive for journalism.


Thanks for reading! If you have seen any utterly ridiculous predictions of doom in the media over the last 10 years, please drop it in the comment section and it may be included in the next chapter.


About the Creator

Scott Christenson

Born and raised in Milwaukee WI, living in Hong Kong. Hoping to share some of my experiences w short story & non-fiction writing. Have a few shortlisted on Reedsy:

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Comments (4)

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  • Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.4 months ago

    This puts things in a very different light than what we are used to seeing - "Don't worry! It's a one time thing," in particular made me stop for a minute to consider it all. This may be listed under "Humor", but I do wish that more people thought like this to be honest. We could use more perspectives like this in the world.

  • Kodah4 months ago

    💖The format of your piece was interesting!! Great work Scott!💖

  • "possessing the confidence that only a happy childhood can give" I freaking laughed out loud for this!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Gosh this whole thing was so brilliant!

  • JBaz4 months ago

    I will definitely be on the look out for a good prediction story for Austi to comment on. This was good and entertaining

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