IF you imagine the newsroom at this publication is peopled by a bunch of hard-bitten, cynical, beer-soaked hacks, you may be right. Sometimes. But, last week, despite the prevailing holiday spirit, some very long faces could be seen in the region of the newsdesk. There, in front of their computer terminals, news reporters Virginia Maher and Kathy Griffin - who had been working together on our Operation Santa Christmas Appeal - were sharing their sadness about a story they were writing, on a little boy who had died as a result of being unable to receive a matching bone marrow transplant. You might remember him from Saturday's paper - four-year-old Jonathan Leung Chun-man who had battled against acute lymphatic leukaemia from when he was a baby. We showed a picture of him taken just before he died, wearing yellow trousers and a fireman's helmet. With moist eyes, the pair went on with their work, hoping the little boy's plight, and the story of his courage, would tug at the heartstrings of potential donors. But our story does not end there. Half-way through editing the copy, the sub-editor found it a most appropriate time to treat himself with medicated eyedrops. The check sub-editor developed a sudden bout of the sniffles, while the assistant editor - keeping a stiff upper lip - advertised the Operation Santa raffle by electronic mail to all the staff in the newsroom. To paraphrase a legendary media Christmas story: Yes Santa, there is a Virginia . . . and a Kathy . . . and we hope there are also many readers who will want to step in at the last minute and help our Christmas appeal towards its target of $5 million.