Long Meetings, No Stories

via bigvisible.com

via bigvisible.com

This post may be hard for some to believe.

Some meetings that you’ll cover will be an hour long and you’ll get eight stories out of them.

Other meetings will be over three hours long and you’ll have two stories.

It all depends.

It depends on the board, council, committee or commission.

It depends what’s on the agenda.

It depends on a lot of things.

At first, one would think that the longer meetings would be full of stories. I thought that, too. Until I really started thinking about it.

Looking back, long meetings tend to get out of hand with how long the above-mentioned groups talk about each topic. Sometimes long meetings are had on just a few agenda items. That’s just the way it is.

Sometimes the longer agendas may be the shorter meetings.

It’ll upset you and drive you crazy when you realize you won’t have as many stories that you had planned, but that’s okay. The stories you will have will be full of quotes and discussions that were had at the meeting. You’ll just have to work harder to come up with more story ideas.

Nothing is guaranteed with meetings. People that may talk a lot may not speak at all during one meeting, while others who are normally mute may talk more than they ever have in six months.

I don’t care how comfortable you are with one board versus another. You have to stay on your toes at all times. You never know when a conversation could get heated and when the money quote will come out. It’s just a matter of time.

It’s easy to get bored at long meetings, but you have to stay focused.

For long meetings, I just keep taking notes to pay attention. Even if it’s boring or for something I won’t necessarily write about, I’m still taking notes. It keeps me busy, passes the time and I’m focused the entire time.

The downside is it wears you and your hand out. It’s not easy to take notes for over three hours. But you get used to it.

Long or short, meetings are the lifeblood of most small newspapers and are a smorgasbord of stories for the taking.

Take advantage of them.



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