[Breaking News: from another strangely irrelevant moment in our newsroom…]
Oftentimes, finding “hard” news at a small paper is difficult. Unless Mrs. Schelpendorf gets rowdy at the Elks’ Yatzee party and assaults Mr. Schlependorf with a folding chair for spelling cleavage, finding hard news to attract readers requires being “inventive.” I use that word because it is the term our editor used during today’s editorial meeting to “encourage” us (I use that word because I am sometimes sarcastic) to find news that will sell papers.
“If it bleeds, it leads,” she said.
“What if it’s a nose bleed?” I asked. “I heard the mayor is having rhinoplasty.”
“If you don’t get out, you’ll need rhinoplasty.”
I decided not to ask if the new urologist in town specializing in erectile dysfunction would qualify as hard news. Instead, I went to work trying to find a story that would catch readers’ attention. It wasn’t until late this afternoon that I finally found THE story; something topical and riveting that would cause newspapers to fly off the racks (No disrespect, Mrs. Schlependorf). Following up on a press release I received from the Public Health department, I found out a bat with rabies had been discovered in a cave not far away…
Before we go any further, let’s just get this over with: Yes, the town in the dateline is called “Noti.”
Sadly, it isn’t actually pronounced “naughty,” which would mean a “naughty” chamber of commerce, “naughty” police department, “naughty” motel, “naughty” residents, etc.
It’s pronounced No-Tie. Sorry about that.
But all naughtiness aside, it still meant rabies was within bat-flying distance from our town.
It still needed more punch, which is where the power of single word can make all the difference…
If that doesn’t boost newspaper sales, I may have to see what I can instigate at the next Elks Yahtzee party…