Friday, April 04, 2008

Tale of Two Stories

I'm feeling some kinda way even though I know its just me being bratty.

So, I busted my hump last week (before I went on vacay) to bang out a story on the 40th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I know you're probably thinking: MLK? In Rhode Island? Err?

Well, I'd pitched the story -- a look at how MLK has impacted the current generation and how his legacy is holding up -- a while back. Somehow, it got lost in the shuffle and they assigned another great reporter to do the story. Turns out MLK visited RI 3 times and, of course, he went to school in Boston. So it's not that far fetched.

Anyway, I hear about the reassignment, my boss lobbies for me, and the reporter (who had no clue I'd pitched the story first) and I work out a plan. We decide to do two parallel stories -- I'll focus on the young people and he'll focus on the civil righters who are still alive.


So I report, write and gather audio. The whole time, wires are crossed downstairs (codeword for "main newsroom"). Chaos ensues. (Okay, maybe not chaos, but some serious miscommunication.)

No one knows when the story will run - Sunday or today. No photographer shows up for my assignment at a local elementary school. My boss tells me to write like it's running Sunday. I'm amped because I know that with this much copy, they have to give us good play. Downstairs is concerned because there is no audio to go with the stories. I cull through my digital recorder files and hand over usable bits to them. They are grateful. I ask about getting a photog over to the elementary school to take some pics of the kids. I hear nothing back. In checking with the school to get the ages of some kids, I learn that a photog indeed, is at the school and is taking pictures.

Great! I think.

I leave to go on vacation and check the Web site online.

There is no audio. There are no pictures of multicultural children. From the placement on the Web site, I can tell the story did not get great play.


When I get into the office, before I log onto my computer, before I check my messages, I go an dget a copy of the Sunday paper. I look on the front for my blyine. I look inside. Nothing. I turn to the local front. There, above a story about a Curves for tattooed women, is my story about MLK's legacy.

I take solace in the fact that I did a story about MLK in Rhode Island and did it at least fairly well. I hear through my editor that the other reporter's story is going to run on the anniversary. The Web producers tell me they'll launch all of the audio on Friday. I smile and nod.

Today, when I picked up the paper, I felt like I'd gotten slapped in the face.

The anniversary was the A1 centerpiece.

The story, admittedly, was great. I enjoyed it. But I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy that this story got such great play (and the benefit of my audio in the package) while mine was relegated to the local front.

I'm not saying my story was as good as his, or as relevant. I'm just saying. I felt some kinda way because of the way the two stories were treated. I may not have any basis for this, but I know it's messed me up today something serious.

It's just kinda like, man.

That sucks.

*Kicks an errant can in the office*

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Posted by T Dot at 5:36 PM | link

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