After I posted my item on editor Larry Laurain another humorous assignment came to mind.
During my first week at The Oakland Press in January 1984 I pretty much was sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting to be turned loose on the police beat and feeling nervously unproductive.
In a newsroom there is nothing worse than to be a reporter who is not working on something. Because if you are not working on something, you are a target for anything. So it was with me that first week at the Press.
The only thing worse than being a reporter working on nothing, is to be a reporter in a newsroom on a late Friday afternoon. Reporters had several mottos at the Flint Journal (and if I forget some, I know the readers of this blog with fill in the blanks):
"You never know where in the Flint Journal you'll find a Page 1 story."
"It can always get worse." and,
"Nothing good every comes from being in the newsroom on a Friday afternoon." (I'll explain this one further tomorrow)
But I digress.
On the Thursday of my first week at the Press I was met in the morning with an assignment to attend a luncheon conference speech at the Michigan Chiropractor's meeting in Southfield. In retrospect I can see this was just a way to get me out of the office and out of sight for the day.
But armed with a map and a complete lack of knowledge about anything chiropractic I headed off early to the conference.
The speech was unremarkable, but I dutifully took notes and filed a story which I'm sure ran somewhere on the airplane pages, so called because they were deep into the newspaper sections, such as: B-12, A-10 or F-16. That's back in the day when papers had thick sections.
After three days of following someone around like a puppy dog learning the ropes, it was good to finally feel like I had earned a day's pay.
Fast forward a year or more: There was a breaking story about some proposed changes in Michigan law dealing with chiropractors. One of the editors began scanning the room for me, because somehow covering that one speech had made me the newsroom expert on the subject.
And so it was for my five-year career at the Press, any time the subject of chiropractic arose, it came to me.
That's why when I put together a package of newspaper clippings for my next potential newspaper employers, I left that clipping out.