(I know I said I wouldn't blog about my new job - and I'm not. This is more a reflection on my long history in the newspaper business, not any calls I've received at my new job. Honest. Most of the people who call or email me at work have very useful story tips or vital information, but I have gotten some doozies over the course of my career)
Top reasons people call their community newspaper:
- Because they saw a story that improperly used "who" instead of "whom" - twice! - and "don't you people have any standards?"
- Because they've been eating paint chips all morning and need someone to talk to other than the voices in their head.
- Two words: Damn & politicians
- Because the communists are putting fluoride in the drinking water and polluting our precious bodily fluids
- Because the precious fruit of their loins has just done something exceptional that has never been done before, like put on a really cute Halloween costume.
- Because those damn kids won't stay off their lawn
- Because those "politically correct types" at the other newspaper are "censoring" them because they wouldn't print their letter to the editor about how "the jews and the blacks are conspiring with women's libbers and homos and immigrants to destroy this great country"
- Two words: Free & advertising
- Because their uncle/cousin/neighbour/some guy they met down at the legion last Tuesday is brilliant and we should give him a regular column
- Because we should interview them about their passionate interest in a vital issue that concerns the entire community: their exhibitionist narcassistic personality disorder.
- Two words: Insufficient & medication
- Just saw the "first robin of spring" in mid-February or mid-June
- Because "their as MAD as HELL!!!!!!! and there NOT going to take it ANY MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" --- oh, wait a sec, wrong list. That one is from the "reasons people write letters to the 'Editur' list.
- Two words: Shut & In
- "Why don't you people ever write about anything good happening?"
- "Did you guys hear about whatsisname? You know, that guy. You should do a story about him. I think he won some kind of award or contest or did something, I forget what, but it was really something!"
- "You didn't hear it from me and I don't want name any names, but I'm pretty sure that guy across the street is up to something"
- And the #1 answer on the list: Two words: Church & bazaar
(Not that I ever get these kinds of calls anymore, because all the people who read the paper I work for are terrific, wonderful, salt-of-the-earth types. But the people who used to call those other newspapers I used to work for? Whoo boy!)