Getting to a Story Late



Being second to a story is never a good feeling.

We are all human and it happens from time-to-time. We either miss things, get bad information or it’s just bad luck.

Sometimes there are just no explanations.

I was late to a story last week when I shouldn’t have. I did everything right and I was still late.

Without going into too much detail, I was late to a court story on Friday afternoon.

Having the night shift, I made sure I remembered that I had to call the courts to get an update on two of our biggest court cases. Technically, they aren’t court cases they are people in jail either waiting for a deal or a trial.

I reached the court clerk and she gave me the information I needed very quickly. I don’t think it was more than a three-minute conversation. I even made sure to ask if there was anything new with each docket, to which, she said there was nothing that she knew of. I took it at that and the briefs were in Saturday’s paper with no problems.

On Sunday, I get a text from an editor asking me if I know anything about additional charges for one of the cases that’s in the courts that I updated for Saturday’s paper.

I, of course, said no.

Looking on a rival paper’s web site I realized that I had missed something.

To say the least, I was pissed. There was no way I could have missed anything. The state’s judicial department web site had no update as of Friday night and I went with what the court clerk told me. I was miffed and I knew that I had let the paper down.

Obviously, we don’t have a court reporter, but I should have been on top of the additional charges. I’m not sure what more I could have done from where I was on Friday, but I felt responsible.

So on Monday, I made sure to do an update to the story, with the additional charges. It wasn’t something I was happy about, but I made sure that we had that in as soon as possible.

I still feel bad about it. No one likes being last and I’m certainly one of those people. For the case that I messed up on, it’s been my “beat” for almost five months. It’s not something I take lightly and it simply bothers the hell out of me.

Situations like the one above don’t’ happen often. When they do, we make sure to get on it as soon as we can.

For any reporter, it’s a nasty feeling.

But, it happens and you have to move on.



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