After all the hustle and bustle of the Putnam County Fair last week, this week has been pretty uneventful. Until now, I've just not had any workable ideas come up for a post.
The first week of each month is my least busiest. The Fillmore Town Council's regular meeting is always on the first Thursday at 7 p.m., so there's not a rush to come back to the office and write about it before deadline. My philosophy here is quality over speed.
I would be writing said story right now, though, if I hadn't procrastinated on this one.
On some days when I get into a "mood," my drive gets shot. I will beat myself up over a typo or a detail I think I overlooked. I will stress over whether or not I got the point across or did a story justice. I will find myself yearning for a big fire or wreck. (How's that for a jinx?) Sometimes, though, nothing happens. "Slow news days" are a reality.
I have always told people that there is never a dull moment with this job, but it's just that some days can — and will — be decidedly busier than others. The voids are filled by working on this press release or that obituary, while some of the town council and school board meetings won't have exciting write-ups. Surprises can be good things.
This was the case two weeks ago when two Greencastle firefighters let me know about volunteer fire crews doing tanker shuttle training. I guess this was what some might call "insider info." I don't really look at it that way. It is about the interest and having peoples' trust. We depend on all of our connections helping us always be in the loop.
This is how and why we write about those "human-interest" or "soft" stories, as they are called in journalism. I believe that they are an integral part of what we do as a truly local news source. They focus on people and ideas which make our communities tick. They are opportunities for us to develop rapports — and it is still up to us to be there.
Building and maintaining that trust is a kind of team effort, and I don't take that for granted. I keep coming back to connections in this blog, and it's because they all are the very foundations of what we do as local journalists and as community members.
All it can take is a call or an email to the office. Beats aside, we will do these stories because we want to. Not only do they mitigate the slow days, they have real purpose.