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Living on the flip side
May 12, 2011 - Kylie Saari
So I got to see how it is for everyone else this week.
I was contacted about doing a story about a school's top accelerated reader for second grade. That is nothing out of the ordinary. I have written stories like this in the past, and it works for a nice, quick feel-good story. Turns out another southern Minnesota paper had a story about their top second grader and this local boy had lots more points.
The difference here is that the local boy is my son.
Now, normally, we are not allowed to write about our own family. It is a bit of a conflict of interest, as you can imagine. But since this is a story we would write about any other kid who did the same thing, we were given permission to write it. Except I couldn't do it.
Jennifer Brookens kindly offered to step out of her beat and cover this one, and that is when I realized what it was like for those who were having a story written about them.
I didn't get to read the story in advance. That is against policy. I tried my very hardest not to tell her how I wanted the story written. That is a journalist's worst nightmare. I didn't even attend the interview, although I wanted to see how he did.
I just held by breath, bit my tongue and waited for the story to come out.
And I was very pleased. Every mother is proud of her child, and I am particularly happy my boy likes something I like — that reading is truly enjoyable to him. Jennifer really did a good job capturing that.
I now I can relate a little better when mothers call while I am writing a story about their kid, just to see if I need anything else. I can try to be less offended when they want to see copy before it prints.
It is exciting to see your kid in the paper, even if the paper is your job.
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