Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Extra! Extra!

Last summer I moved to the Portland, Oregon area. Vancouver, Washington, to be specific (not to be confused with Vancouver, B.C. That Vancouver, where I grew up, is a world class city hosting the Olympics next year. This Vancouver has a 24-hour Shari's. But their cinnamon french toast is terrific).

Anyway, the daily paper here, the Columbian, broke some earth-shattering news on their web site today. Check it out.

I'll wait a second for you to fully digest the severity of the article.

Now, understand, Vancouver may not be Manhattan, but it's not a one-stoplight farming town either. It's essentially an offshoot of Portland, a major city, if not a metropolis. Hell, even Vancouver alone has over 100,00 residents.

And while most people would see that article and maybe get a chuckle, I laughed out loud, e-mailed it to all my friends, and spent the better part of the afternoon obsessing over it.

Why did they write this article? How did they find out the light had been fixed? Did the city send out a press release? If so, how many people in management had to approve it before it was released? Did a concerned reader call it in? Has there been a reporter on stoplight watch? Did the reporter have a source that tipped her off? Why wasn't it enough just to say the light had been fixed? Why did they feel compelled to ask a city spokeswoman about it? What was the spokeswoman's reaction when she got that call? What was the reporter's reaction about having to make that call? Did the reporter want to hang herself for having gotten this assignment? Is this the only story she worked on today?

As a journalism graduate myself, I can attest that every budding reporter hopes their career will unfold like this:

Not like this:


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