Today I woke up, did a few dishes, ate breakfast and headed off to work.
There was nothing particularly interesting to write about in the cities I cover and any local government happenings were out of the picture because it was Martin Luther King Day.
But, as a daily newspaper reporter, I strive to fill up space on a daily basis with something. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose in terms of the story’s quality.
Feast or famine as they say.
I wound up writing two stories that won’t soon be given a Pulitzer. The first was an update on an annual chili cook off that raises funds for a group that helps injured or fallen police officers.
The other was a short police story, a bit longer than a brief, about a guy who called the police because someone left two Barbie Doll heads on his porch.
One might think that such a day in the local news business, and writing about severed Barbie doll heads, would leave a young reporter like myself questioning my his vocation.
But I enjoy when tidbits present themselves which allow me to be the quirk reporter. Albino deer dead? Skunk with a cup stuck to its head? A man with 10,000 Hot Wheels in his basement? I can get you 400 to 500 inches on any of those topics, and in fact, those are my favorite news stories.
Who put the Barbie doll heads there? Did they get the cup off the skunk’s head? How on Earth did that guy become such a fan of Hot Wheels?
Why were that person’s Christmas lights cut five times over the holiday, and is some sneaky, unknown person really spraying lemon pledge around that lady’s home on a daily basis like she claimed in that police report?
While other reporters at bigger papers might be tackling national security, race relations or political scandal, I alone sit awake in the wee hours of the morning asking such important questions that need answers.
And for some odd reason it makes my day when I come across such little pieces of information, and I find a certain amount of satisfaction when something strange I write gets picked up by AP Oddities.
I keep hoping for that day Bigfoot gets shot by a bow hunter in Avon Lake. I will frame that one and give it a special place above the mantle.
To me it feels like being a local newspaper reporter is being a Chronicler of time. And with time comes emotional, monumental and ordinary stories.
My experience as a newspaper reporter thus far has not led to writing anything monumental, but I have tackled some emotional topics. And the ordinary — that seems to be a majority of the content when writing daily stories. I will admit I’ve found myself referring to City Council, Utilities Commission and Board of Education meetings as purgatory.
But weird news holds a special place in my heart above all others. Who knows? Maybe it’s because I’m just a weird guy.