Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Winging it when you forget what you intended writing about.

Some days you feel like a blog, some days you don't. I week ago I wanted to go blogging but for a couple of days or maybe three I couldn't get onto Blogger. It may have been my fault but I don't think so. Then I received page proofs to check and return - 299 pages that I had grown tired of reading long ago. That doesn't matter, though, it had to be done.
After writing the above paragraph there came more to do with the page proofs, then several days of back and forth correspondence with the cover designers. Then it became necessary to do some work on my web site so finally today, July 10, I returned to blogging and work on this page. I think I'm too old for this much hassle. On the other hand I enjoy it. The point of all this, if there really is one, is that you shouldn't believe the date on this blog.
There is one problem, though: after all this time I have forgotten what the subject of the blog was going to be. So I'll wing it, a term we used during my newspaper days when we had to write a certain number of column inches on a subject we knew absolutely nothing about.
Ah, those were the days. They began at 7 a.m. when you'd walk into the newsroom and find a stack of rewrites on your desk. These were stories clipped from the morning paper and pertained to things that happened on your beat after the previous day's deadline. On rare occasions - you had better hope they were rare - there was something brand new, something you had missed. At those times Jack Richman, the city editor, would cast a baleful stare in your direction and say, "I see you got scooped, Dick." But the words you really dread hearing were, "I see you got scooped, Dick - again." Few words have ever packed a greater wallop than that "again." A reporter's job was only as secure as his last story so if there were any scoops to be had they'd better be yours.
One thing guaranteed to bring on a groan was finding a bunch of obits among your rewrites. Who felt like rewriting obituaries at seven in the morning? At any time of day they were, at best, boring. Those waiting to be rewritten usually began: "John Doe - blah, blah, blah." So the easist way of rewriting them was to start with: "Services for John Doe - blah, blah, blah."
Then there was the mail. When a letter, a bulletin, a magazine or a catalog arrived addressed to a specific editor there usually wasn't such a person. That meant each reporter was "editor" of a variety of topics. Evan Owens, whose desk was next to mine, counted up one day and he was 28 different kinds of editor - all on a reporter's salary, of course. I can't remember the subjects of my various editorial duties but I do recall that none of them was interesting.
So that's the way a reporter's day began. When the last rewrite had been rewritten some of us would head for the diner down the street before starting out on our daily rounds. We did a lot of talking and learned a great deal about what was going on around town that way. Of all those many conversations over cups of coffee only one thing really stands out in memory. That came the day Evan Owens ordered "dry toast with butter." It took a while for me to figure out what that meant.

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