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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Monday, May 11, 2009

A Major Anniversary for Ol' Stodg

Jackie had a messageboard note from Mike Dooley and that reminded me that it was 39 years ago today that I started work for the Muncie Evening Press. Mike was a reporter for the Star, the morning paper in town, so that made him the competition.
Some people believed the papers didn't compete because both were Pulliam-owned newspapers. They were mistaken. It was a bad start to the day if I walked into the newsroom at 7 a.m. and City Editor Jack Richman said, "Well, Dick, I see you got scooped." Fortunately it didn't happen often. If it had, I would have been job hunting again.
I was one of the last of the itinerant reporters. The Evening Press was my sixth newspaper. Two were large, two were small and the MEP was my second of medium size. That made it ideal for me because I was, and still am, a workaholic. At a large newspaper you get stuck with doing one thing. At a small one you are stuck with doing everything. At one in between those extremes you have a beat to cover but are free to add as many other duties as you choose. When someone had two meetings on the same night, I'd volunteer to cover one of them. I loved to cover high school sports on Friday and Saturday nights. I wrote columns about those sports and about the beat I covered. I volunteered to work on holidays because otherwise they were boring. In 1979 I added writing mysteries for magazines to my workload.
Before joining the Evening Press staff I had never kept a job for more than three years. There always was something better over the next hill and that was a trait I inherited from my dad. The MEP proved an ideal fit for me so I stayed for eight years, left for two, then returned for ten more.
The Evening Press had a veteran staff so the wise guys at the Star, and Mike Dooley was the biggest of them, said, "The youngest man at the Evening Press is 47, and he's the copy boy." That wasn't true. I was 44.
In his message to Jackie, Mike mentioned a Star story about a beer can that changed the outcome of a mayoralty race. I sent a message back to him saying, "Still trying to steal my stories, are you?" I was the one who broke the beer can story and I think I once wrote a blog about it.
Mike Dooley left Muncie to work for a Fort Wayne newspaper. He's going to pay us a visit this summer. If anyone else happens to stop by they'd better be wearing hip boots. Yes, those were great days so it's forgivable.


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