happy, shiny people

I’ve gotten a few compliments lately from sources, and it makes me wonder if they’re coming mostly because of the holidays. But still, its nice to know you’re loved:

  • The president of the teacher’s union in my city tells me all the time that she loves the stories I put together. I’m just glad that there’s a union/district conflict to write about, simply so that I’m not only writing about classroom activities and Santa reading to the kids, or something. She told me yesterday that the members of her union have asked her where I get my information, and she tells them that I am just thorough in my research. But I figure, if I was not thorough, checking numbers against the state and the county (where they are readily available), I would just be lazy. And God knows I’m not lazy.
  • Our police reporter was burning some more vacation days this week, so I had to pick up cop logs and some cop duties again this week. Our local CHP media guy was telling me that personally, they miss me because I am a lot more thorough and I used to call every day. LOL, and I used to think that annoyed everyone. But I guess consistency is important to people, even sources – no one likes to get urgent phone calls only when there’s bad news. Besides, my philosophy is, if I show that I’m willing to cover the good news, that my sources will be more willing to talk or give info when there’s bad news.
  • One of the contacts I used to have at the police department called me earlier this week to make sure we could cover an annual story, the foods, gifts and Christmas paraphernalia donation that Whole Foods does for a needy family in my city. She had left me a couple of messages prior to the phone call, but I had forwarded them to the police reporter, thinking that I needed to stay hands off there because I didn’t want to step on his toes. During the story, my contact told me that the cops who always had “good” story leads miss me, because the new police reporter is less inclined to do them. Also, she mentioned that the Galleria sergeant (who I thought HATED me, because my coverage of the trial her husband was mentioned in from time to time) appreciated my coverage of the illicit bathroom activity at the local JC Penney’s – no one wanted to talk about it (I think the sergeant had declined to comment on it at the time) but my contact told me the sergeant had appreciated the coverage and how fairly I had done it.

I’ll say it again – I think I’m a good reporter. I believe I’m balanced, fair and a good representative of my paper in the community. However, on the flip side, I think reporters who move up the career ladder are those who bank on how many people or organizations they can shock, tear down or humiliate in public. It’s sad, but I think it’s true.