Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Pair of Hildys

WARNING: The following story was read on an Internet message board and posted by an anonymous person, so it may be a crock. I have done no reporting to verify this tale, but I prefer to believe it, so I'm posting it here.

As you may know, some guy, allegedly a University of Georgia professor, went off the tracks yesterday and shot and killed three people. A horrible story so commonplace it's barely news, unless you live in Athens, Georgia that is. Homicidial maniac on the loose is considered a pretty big story in those parts.

Big enough for this. Two women reporters in that town, one with AP, one with CNN, were members of a wedding party. They were bridesmaids. When the news broke, they left the church, and worked the story all day and night -- IN THEIR BRIDESMAID'S DRESSES! They talked to cops, neighbors, the whole crime beat bit, all the while dressed like, no doubt, Scarlett O'Hara's revenge on Melanie.

I'll never meet those women, but if I should, their bottle of Kristal is on me. That is awesome. That is what reporting is all about. Get the story. Forget your life, your dignity, just get the facts and get them out to the audience-because they need to know.

I have nothing against the so-called "new media," seeing as I'm part of it and all. But it took a tradition of more than a hundred years, bred into those two women as part of their souls, to get them to do what they did. Bloggers, no offense, don't have that shared professional instinct yet. How could they, working in a medium about a decade old?

If you're just a news consumer, maybe what those women did doesn't seem awesome. Maybe it seems just plain weird. You wouldn't be wrong, exactly. But understand this. Without that weirdness, you'd have no news to consume at all.


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