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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Friday, May 04, 2007

Could You Be a Journalist?

  • Yes you could be a journalist (most prefer beining called a reporter) if you are capable of handling a few basic requirements. I've come up with the following list after reading some derogatory comments about journalists.
    You could be a journalist if:
  • . You talk to a township trustee and a U.S. senator during the same day, treat them exactly the same and write each of their stories with equal care and respect.
  • You cover a boring city council or county commisioners meeting and manage to remain vigilant for something that doesn't ring true, then dig into it until you discover the reason why, and after that write a story that is of interest and doesn't let the reader know how mind-numbing it all was.
  • You cover a meeting during which contracts are awarded and pay no attention to the organized crime soldiers occupying the front row of seats and write it up just as you intended even though their leader drapes his arm over your shoulder, smiles and says, "You're going to write a nice story, aren't you?"
  • On a raw and windy day you cover a baseball game involving two tank town high school teams and write it up just as if it were the story of the seventh game of the World Series.
  • You cover a criminal trial and write an objective and fair story no matter how despicable the defendant may be or how obnoxious the prosecutor may be.
  • You aren't afraid to ask for help when preparing for a complicated account of something involving figures from the treasurer's office and when you go back the next day take it as a compliment when the woman who provided the help says, "You aren't as dumb as you look."
  • You work hard to make them as interesting as possible when you start the day at 7 a.m. by writing obituaries even though you may be nursing a hangover. You keep in mind that for many it will be the first time their name appeared in a newspaper and for most it will be the last.
  • You have to write a story about crooked cops even though one of them had been a friend and you can do it fairly and thoroughly enough that he still considers you a friend.
  • You cover a high school football game far out in the boondocks, it's raining and there's no press box so you walk the sidelines trying to keep your notes dry, then go back to the newsroom soaking wet and treat the story as if it had been the Rose Bowl game.
  • You don't mind leaving a warm bed at 3 a.m. when a city editor already out on the prowl calls and says, "There's been a triple fatality on highway 3 north of town. Better get out there." Or when he calls at 5 a.m. the next morning with news of another fatal accident and a short time later you look down at the mangled body of a young woman, but will recall above all else a wisp of smoke rising from a hole burned in the side of a lime green high-heel shoe.
  • You must write a story concerning something not quite right at Circuit Court, then the next day hear the bailiff say, "We wish you hadn't written that story but at least you got it right."
  • You don't hesitate to write a story about a dirty trick played by the campaign of the leading candidate in the race for mayor, a fine man who is a fraternity brother of your publisher, and then watch the resulting uproar and see the underdog candidate forge ahead and win the election.
  • You can force yourself to knock on a stranger's door and ask if the person who answers can provide a photo of a loved one killed in an accident or arrested for a heinous crime.
  • You can appreciate knowing you are doing your job the way you should when the right-wingers say your stories lean too far to the left and the left-wingers say they lean too far to the right.
  • And above all, there isn't a man or woman in town you wouldn't want to meet on the street because you had written something inaccurate or unfair about them. There's much more, of course, but if all those things seem reasonable you could be a journalist, a reporter.


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