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May 20, 2011 - Jodelle Greiner
When we were kids, my mother would write up information when we made the honor roll, got selected for Girls County, or whatever it was we did. Then she’d drop it off at the local paper. In our cases, it usually made the “local news” column.
Sometimes we reporters hear of a someone who does something — like the Boy Scout who monitors the lake water — and we can turn it into an article.
People often complain we don’t run enough of those stories, that we focus too much on the crimes. I would rather write about a kid who’s organizing a neighborhood clean-up than some little vandals getting in trouble, but the cops haven’t implemented the “Good Person” blotter yet, so we depend on the public to let us know when something lighter is happening.
If your kid gets an award, contact us. I know we’re Minnesotans and there’s a state “no bragging” rule, but you’ve just got to get over that. Our number is 507-235-3303. The editor’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a lot of rules in journalism and a lot of checks and balances (sort of like the government) to make sure we’re being fair to everyone. For instance, if you tell us your kid made the A-B honor roll, we probably won’t run a front page story on him. If we did, we’d have to run a front page story on every kid who made the A-B honor roll.
If, on the other hand, your kid is doing something unique — say, earned that Eagle Scout rank — yes, we’ll interview him and run an article. And we’ll run an article on every other Eagle Scout, too, because it takes a lot of hard work to make Eagle Scout and the accomplishment deserves to be recognized.
When we hear of someone doing something unique, we check and see if that person is the only one who’s doing it. Maybe we hear a local kid is elected as a state FFA officer. We’ll try to determine if she’s the only one in the area who’s earned that honor. We do that by calling around to the schools and seeing if they have an FFA chapter, then ask if they have any state officers. After calling around to everyone we can think of and not finding any other state officers, we’ll do the article — only to have someone call us and tell us there’s a kid from the area serving as a national FFA officer. If that’s the case, we’ll do an article on that kid, too.
We want to publicize what’s going on in the area, but sometimes we need some help. If you want articles about kids (or adults) doing good things, let us know what they’re doing.
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