(This article was originally published in 2009)
I n the past I’ve mentioned some of the e-mails, letters and voice mail messages I receive here at the newspaper that don’t always make it to print, but some of them are interesting and even entertaining.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve taken some artistic liberty with these so if they seem a little embellished, they probably are.
Dear Too-good-tocover myevent: I wrote, called, sent smoke signals and sent a message by carrier pigeon to get you out to my event and no one showed up! How can you call yourselves a newspaper?
Dear Frustrated: Was your event in Davison, Burton, Grand Blanc or Goodrich? Was it even in Genesee County? We try to get to as many events as we can but the first rule is it has to be local. Second, if it’s not local then give us a local angle, i.e. — the local man or woman who is taking part in an out of area event is the best way for us to get those non-local events. And remember, we have a small staff so we can’t always make every event, but we can still use photos you take if we can’t be there. But please, make sure you’re local and we’ll do all we can to help.
Dear (insert random editor name here): I’m sure I saw a story in your newspaper last week when it came out on Sunday. Can you help me find a copy?
Dear Confused: Sorry, we only come out on Thursdays. You see, the reason you can’t find that story in our newspaper is we didn’t write the story. There’s a common misunderstanding among many readers that one company owns all local papers. Well, here that’s not true, so we’ll do whatever we can to help you but you’ll have to call the other guys if it wasn’t our story. Sorry.
Dear Muckraker: I spoke at my city council meeting the other day and I don’t want your reporter using my name or quotes!
Signed, He-Who- Shall-Not-Be-Named.
Dear Nameless: There’s a major rule of thumb in journalism — if you don’t want it published, then don’t say it at a public meeting. The whole idea of a public meeting is that anything said there is open to the public. That goes for politicians and their staff, right down to the people in the audience. If you say something noteworthy at a public meeting, it will probably get in.
Dear Useless: Our wonderful business opened months ago and you’ve already written three stories about us and the wonderful things we do, but we are outraged you would not come out to this great event we’re hosting and do one more story. Why?
Dear Forgotten: We’re always looking for a good story, but at some point when we’ve already given you or your business a lot of coverage we can’t make every single event you sponsor or host. Sometimes we may or may not be able to get there ourselves — its up to me to decide how important it is and whether we have the resources to cover it. But I promise your stories are always important to us, but sometimes you may have to take a picture or write up a short press release for us — we can’t be everywhere.