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updated: 5/9/2013 12:03 PM

Shooting the rapids of dual playoff runs

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In the constantly undulating rhythms of the news cycle -- now elections take center stage, now a flooding crisis; now, a sensational kidnap story is all the rage, now a controversy over the state budget -- there is something especially gratifying about the swell we're mounting right now. Not one but two playoff runs simultaneously.

The Blackhawks appear poised to complete the first stage of their Stanley Cup mission. The Bulls are undertaking their unlikely march -- well, valiant limp might be a more appropriate term -- toward the NBA Championship. It's a little like canoeing into a rock-strewn rapids, with emotional surges alternating unpredictably from anxiety to resignation to exhilaration. It's a delicious rush, and we can help you both navigate and enjoy the swings.

One of our goals with all of our stories, whatever the topic, is to inform and enhance your conversations. At playoff time, we know you want to talk about the team, about last night's game and the one coming up. We want to give you something more to talk about and provide the kind of information that helps you develop and express more engaging insights. To that end, we deploy various types of resources. For one, our columnists -- particularly Mike Imrem, Barry Rozner and Mike Spellman, with insights from Hawks historian Bob Verdi and broadcaster Troy Murray now added into the Hawks mix -- provide the kind of energetic reflection you might share with friends at the work break room, local lunch counter or neighborhood bar. You likely won't agree with everything they say or see things just how they see them, but you'll certainly find your juices stirred.

Our beat reporters -- Tim Sassone for the Hawks, Mike McGraw for the Bulls -- have an unusual mission for news writers, and it's a more difficult one than you may realize. They must write a game story that will appeal both to a vast majority of fans who already know the results or who saw the game themselves and to the handful who didn't see the game or may not even know the score yet. On top of that, they must play the roles of both independent observer and fan's representative. They have to somehow convey the fan's thrill or disappointment at the outcome, while also presenting unvarnished and thorough details of each game, along with reactions and analysis that keep their stories fresh and relevant.

And in this age of constant connection and social networking, nearly all of them are routinely adding thoughts and ideas on the fly into the Facebook and Twitter universes.

Nor are they alone in the development and presentation of their coverage. Photographers work each game for dramatic still shots as well as online video. Editors of various types provide direction and deadlines, act as sounding boards for ideas and help shape and polish stories on rushed deadlines. Indeed, departments entirely outside the newsroom play a key role in our coverage. The pressroom reorganizes work so that press starts can be adapted to unpredictable, often late game endings. Delivery staff likewise adjust their schedules to accommodate the uncertainties and still see that your paper arrives on time. Because of their efforts and the planning and adaptability on our copy desk, we can go to great lengths to get final results into all our editions, often when our competitors can't. And, even if you get an early print edition, you can always see the latest version of a sports story in our e-editions online.

Just as you focus all your senses and energies to shoot that stretch of white water, we employ an intense blend of resources and attention to help Chicago sports fans -- and who isn't one at a time like this? -- enjoy the playoff ride, hoping, as you are, that it won't end until that final cheer in the exhilarating eddy of the winner's circle.

• Jim Slusher, jslusher@dailyherald, is an assistant managing editor at the Daily Herald. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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