Whoever said years of diligence and experience on the job pay off handsomely wasn’t telling the whole story.
Journalists tell their communities’ stories and in the process meet a lot of folks, and those connections beget more connections and more journalism. It’s all good.
Editors – those people who can’t remember what you told them before their second cup of coffee and only dimly know which time zone they’re in – can always remember that Old Joe was the one who covered the Great Fire Hydrant Controversy of ’09. Old Joe has moved on to other news, but suddenly the fire hydrants are back in the news, and Old Joe must answer the bell, like it or not. Because Joe is the expert, like it or not.
These build up like barnacles on the hull of a ship that once was sleek and fast but now aimlessly putters around the harbor. I’ve had it happen to me, and I’m sure I’ve done it to others.
Email is even worse. Across the country – heck, beyond our shores – public relations folk send their come-ons and pleadings to as many living, upright-and-breathing, non-bot human editors as they can.
Yes, I’d love to attend the International Biomass Conference & Expo next spring in sunny Savannah, Georgia, but that’s going to be hard to slip past the boss and the bean counters. No, I don’t care that your shopping center in California has been sold or that the Tennessee Aquarium – lovely as I’m sure it is – has a new photography exhibit.
Yes, one can tediously unsubscribe, one account at a time, but I’ve found that’s a lot like mowing a five-acre acre lot every day. They just keep finding me, and the silliness keeps coming.
One favorite trick is the follow-up to the original randomness. “Just circling back,” the bot or human chirps, “to see if you had any interest in …”
This week I got a winner. A “content marketing producer” wrote to say she wanted my expert opinion – expert, mind you – on “The World’s Best 50 Beaches.” My opinions and others would lead to an “article,” which I think most of would recognize as one more shameless hussle.
I really didn’t have the heart to tell her that right here in the middle of the continent we have prairies and plains, sun, wind and rain, tornadoes and blizzards, even cattle and soybeans – any of which I could render some sort of opinion about – but no mountains and no beaches.
So I took the survey.
What is the world’s most unexplored beach? Algoma, Wisconsin, on Lake Michigan. No, for real. Check it out.
What is the world’s best beach city? Denver.
What is the world’s best beach? Um, Oceans of Fun?
Would you like your bio included in the article? Yes. That should be hilarious.
Click, submit. There, maybe that will keep them off my back for a while.
– Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.