Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hard to resist

We had two stories in today's paper on the man who stopped to help victims of a major wreck, then drove the ambulance to the hospital when asked by an EMS worker or firefighter. The second story focused on how Ben O'Brien came to be driving the emergency vehicle.

As we talked about the story it sounded just like a "Holiday Inn Express" commercial.

"When O'Brien drove up to the emergency room, a nurse asked: 'Are you really an ambulance driver?' O'Brien responded: 'No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.'"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shelby makes USA Today

Stan Anthony sent me this link to USA Today -- they did a story on pocket ashtrays and listed towns participating in the Keep America beautiful cigarette butt campaign. Shelby's on the list!

Oh deer

Was driving on errands early this afternoon. Turned onto Main St. from Kings Road and saw two police cars and a car pulled off. First thing I thought was license check so I quickly put my seat belt on! Got closer, though, and saw it was Jim Allen -- a fellow Rotarian and former candidate for Shelby mayor. Then I noticed the damage to the front of Jim's car.

What happened?

In the middle of the day a deer cantered across the road right into Jim's path. It struck his car and did significant damage.

I had great appreciation for this since the exact same thing happened to my wife on Wyke Road in front of the Y last spring on a school morning.

I think the new development on Kings Road has really put some pressure on these deer. They're everywhere!

Anyway, Jim looked fine.

Watch out for those deer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sept. 11, 2001

Where was I? Taking my child Matthew to day care at First Baptist. He was only 3 at the time. It's hard to believe my youngest son wasn't even born.

I came in the newsroom and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Allison Flynn was the first to tell me -- right when I got to the TV, the second plane hit.

By afternoon, I was hawking our extra edition on the street corner of Graham and Dekalb.

That time was such a blur. I remember the newspaper being such an "outlet" for people to share their memories, thoughts, anger and fears over what was happening.

I hope you'll visit our special 9-11 page on the front of There are fascinating features and chances for you to contribute your own recollections of that fateful day.

Also, feel free to add comments on this blog posting as to where you were when you learned of the attack.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tragic car crash

I have taken a call and received an e-mail on the story we wrote on the fatal wreck on U.S. 74 yesterday. Both the caller and writer used the word "cold" to describe our story, which is not a complaint I'm used to hearing.

No matter how you slice it, the wreck was tragic. A woman died and two teenagers were involved along with three other cars and people. It's not clear whether the wreck was simply weather-related or someone was to blame. Either way, it will remain a tragedy.

Anyway, the caller who was upset said she felt the breakout box describing who was involved in the wreck and the cutline which described the picture should have been left out. I'm not sure how to respond to either. They were both basic information about the story to help readers understand who was involved. The writer said the story was insensitive to the family of the victim. I'm really struggling to figure out how that was the case.

Regarding the picture, we chose it very carefully. While TV ran pictures of the victim's car with a sheet over it, we chose a much milder picture, not even of the victim's car.

Our story was "by the book," which is how readers often complain that we SHOULD write stories, rather than making them overly flowery or sensational.

All of this is to say: Can you help me understand why people are upset with this story? My only real thought is that it's so tragic on so many levels that we are simply the recipient of misplaced anger and sadness. I can handle that. But if you know of or see ways we could have presented the story better, I'm very much interested in that feedback.