Budding Writer, 1979: I did my part to help out

Reading Time: < 1 minutes
Blue hydrangeas bloom in Southbury, Connecticut, July 5, 2023. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself, and other writers, career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!

An encouraging day. Light work, got to write an editorial, and received lots of positive reaction from teachers (and even Fontana) on my OTA coverage. Very encouraging. Somewhat less encouraging was that the meeting dragged on in executive session. Nevertheless, reactions were very good. As Shirley Beresford pointed out, I did my part to help out. And I’m glad of it.

Journal, Volume II
16 July 1979 (Retrospective)

A journalist — especially a local journalist — owes it to the readers to get both sides of a story and report it fairly and accurately. It’s a lesson too often overlooked today.

The ongoing teacher negotiations with the Oxbow Teachers Association were the subject of multiple school board meetings, although like any contract negotiation they eventually went into closed sessions.

Still, if both School Superintendent John Fontana and teachers representative Shirley Beresford were satisfied, I figured I was doing my job as an impartial observer.

Sometimes the opposite holds true: If both sides are pissed off at you, you’re doing your job. But it does make it harder to cultivate your sources.

2 thoughts on “Budding Writer, 1979: I did my part to help out

  1. How many times after an executive session that would drag on to the wee hours, the reporter would go home….but after that is when a lot of the action happened, at least in my old home town. Sleazy and nasty things would happen without the public knowledge, generally, afterwards, I learned the hard way. Good advice, though, if you want to report both sides.

    1. All too true! It’s especially a problem for reporters for broadcast or morning papers. They can’t wait and have to follow up afterward, getting the information from the Official Spokesman. I was working for a weekly but when the meetings were the night before deadline, we had the same problem.

What do you think? Let me know here. Comments are moderated, and I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.