If a journalist’s mission is to inform, a writer’s passion is to connect.
Carefully chosen words can evoke emotions that affect the reader for a few minutes, or last a lifetime.
Over time, newspaper clippings yellow, but stories posted online stay as fresh as the day they debuted.
Your work lives forever, but that is not always a good thing.
Never miss a local story.
Sometimes, you can’t shake free of a story.
Those perennial paragraphs you penned stick like gum residue on the bottom of your shoe.
For me, it was a simple re-write of a Georgia Department of Natural Resources news release about a new program matching hunters with farmers plagued by wild hogs.
It’s been well over two years since the story posted on macon.com, but I continually get calls from hunters at the ready.
“Hello. I’d like to come kill your hogs,” is an example of what the usually male voice says.
“No, I don’t have hogs for you to shoot. I’m a reporter,” I tell them.
Each time, I direct them to the website for the Georgia Department of Agriculture that is listed in the story.
One thing I’ve learned in nearly 35 years of reporting is that people don’t always hang onto every word, but they can find your phone number and email address.
If I ever lose my day job, maybe I should become a modeling agent.
Multiple pictures of smiling youngsters have infiltrated my email ever since I wrote about a back-to-school fashion show at a local department store.
“Everyone tells me my son should be a model,” one proud parent emailed months after the event.
I even received photographs from a family in England.
We can always tell when a co-worker gets one of those inquiries.
“I don’t grind my own wheat. I am a reporter,” our business writer recently told a caller.
She had no idea where that call came from. It had been years since she wrote about a woman who made her own wheat flour.
Don’t get me wrong. I love hearing from people and relish that they find something of interest in what I wrote.
So, keep those calls and emails coming.
Most times the conversations are timely and even helpful in gaining a greater insight on a topic.
When they are not, it’s just comic relief and grist for the journalists’ mill in the ever churning wheel of modern media.