Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Screwing up the story

I WONDER WHAT to do when I see a local reporter completely screw up a story. Do I say something? Am I being a pompous ass as a former reporter by mentioning it at all? Or should I just shake my head and let it go?

I screwed up as a reporter more than once. Most of the time it was because I was misinformed, or not informed, or in too much of a hurry and not careful.

I remember right after I got out of sports, this was probably around 1999, and the boss told me I had to cover a Quincy Park District meeting. I was told it would be short and to the point. During the meeting, in the blink of an eye, the board members passed some sort of tax increase, or something like that, and it went completely past me.

I didn't even know how to spell levee, or levy, or whatever it is.

The next morning (this was before the web, when we actually had deadlines the morning after a night meeting), the boss was upset, and rightly so. I had to rewrite the story, get ahold of the board members again, and we messed the whole thing up.

The moral of the story? Don't send me to board meetings, of course.

So. I'm gonna let it go. I  feel sorry for reporters who are told to do stories about complicated legal issues - I did it for years and it wasn't easy, and I made my share of mistakes. I'd always laugh when seeing a wide-eyed media guy or gal wander into a courtroom, with no idea what was going on.

I stay away from certain local media sites, which has helped keep my blood pressure down, and it's all good.

Is it levee or levy? One of these days, I might just figure it out.

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