Managing Editor , The Opelika-Auburn News
I was bureau chief for UPI in Tallahassee, and there is a lot of pressure in wire service work.
So I was always aware of that – of – we were multimedia in those days before we knew what it was. You’d write a story for whatever cycle you were on, you would take the same story and write it for broadcast, then you would take the same story and write it for the next cycle.
But I would write those stories and go out for lunch and then you would turn on the radio in your car and they’re – and they’re reading the copy that you’ve just written. You can kind of mouth along with them – even the part that says, “Pause here.” That was always a chilling moment to do.
In particular, one-story there really emphasized that you really, really, really better get it right – it happened to be a story out of Marianna, Fla., of a doctor who had claimed – who had made some claims about a battery plant on the Apalachicola River causing a high incidence of cancer downstream. Then he claimed that he was knifed and cut up by some people who had lured him out to a place to help them with some kind of problem they were having.
Well, come to find out the attack was made up. That this was a medical doctor who had cut himself up to make it look like he had been attacked.
We got that story before AP and if you’re sitting there with a big national A-wire story – you’re first, you want to be first – but there’s a little part of you that said it would surely be comforting if somebody was out there ahead of us on that.
But you’re out there by yourself on something that you know is going to get picked up by every media organization in the country, of any kind.
And it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of fun, a lot of adrenaline. And, yeah, it counts – it matters. And you better get it right. And we did.