I have a favor to ask, and I'll ask you, the reader, at the end of my post.
I didn't start writing because I had an interesting story to tell. Reporters spend their days telling the stories of those around them, the stories of what's happening around them.
The truth is we all have a story, and some of those stories splash our pages each week, but there are so many left to tell. We are a small paper, yes, with a small staff, but I believe we have large hearts, and sincerely do our be on top of what's going on in the communities around us.
There are days when I read a Sound Off or a Facebook post questioning why we missed an event or didn't cover something, or feature someone. Sometimes, sure, there are scheduling conflicts. Many times meetings and events overlap. But sometimes, let's be honest, there are times we just don't know.
Occasionally, I'll see a photo or comment that reminds me I missed an opportunity to highlight something important, or feature someone. We try to have our eyes and ears open for everything, but yes, things get overlooked.
I often wonder, why didn't someone shoot us an email, drop by, pick up the phone-- just let us know something is happening, let us know about someone special.
And then I think of the times when we were contacted about something, given the heads up about a potential story. The person might ask, "do you think this would be interesting?," or, "I just thought I would let you know that..." or "I thought this was neat..."
And many times, it is neat. Because without those tips, I would have never met the Nagys, Hendersons, Dingas, and Stichters--four couples married for 60 years, with wedding anniversaries all in the same month. There would have never been a story about Bill Gaudette, a 92-year-old running a 10K for a charity.
And then there are these-
Kaitlin Nolte, a Middletown girl with epilepsy who trains service dogs for others
Michaelann Dievendorf, a LD history teacher that performed archaeological digs around the world
Kathy Michels, a local artist that paints through the pain of lupus, touching lives with her watercolors
Milo Stackhouse- he raised money (and donated a lot himself) to purchase a wheelchair swing in memory of his wife who loved to swing
The Pacella Family who hold a charity golf tournament in honor of their son
And countless others. Sure we find a lot of our own stuff, but some of our best, my favorite stories bloomed because someone took a moment to say, "hey, this is important."
Some people say that's being lazy, not being a real reporter, because sometimes we don't have to dig. Sometimes we're given a hand, and I think that's okay. Because those stories touched me, changed me, and helped me understand things I never imagined. They made me feel inspired, and if someone else gave me the tip, showed me the door if you will, I'm okay with that.
So, I have a job for you.
What's on your mind? What do you want us to write about, what do you want to see? What did we miss?
Is there someone special in your life with a spectacular story? We all have a story to tell.
Tell us. Speak up. After all, the only stupid questions are the ones never asked, right?