From Overheard in a Newsroom:
“You haven’t lived until you’ve covered a tractor pull.”
When I started writing fiction, it was all too easy to develop trite plot points and find myself satisfied. Journalism taught my to accept less-than-fascinating stories as good enough.
No defensiveness, please. Newspapers are often filled with insightful and well-written copy. But ridiculous news stories are common, especially in smallish towns with smallish daily newspapers. That paper has to go out every single day. Trust me on this point: news doesn’t pop every single day in some cities.
I know a reporter who was desperate to produce something for the paper. So he wrote a story about what to do if your tongue got stuck on metal in the winter, like that kid in the Christmas Story.
That desperation – from both reporters and editors – is why you see headlines like these in your morning paper.
- Ice cream a cool, refreshing treat
- Local festival draws kids with bouncy house
- Fair-lovers flock to fair
- No traffic accidents at downtown intersection
- City Council takes no action at meeting
- Neither does School Board
- Anticipated snowfall/rainfall/windstorm did not arrive
- Leaves this year falling early/late/on time
- No change in crop prices
- Six-month-old signage ordinance causes no controversy
- Folks hit the stores for Christmas shopping
- Holiday weekend brings rising gas prices
- Tips for potty training/cookie baking/car maintenance/safe shoveling/party planning/gardening/household finance
Tedious to read; excruciating to write.