Tag Archives: reporters

How I Became A Writer, Extended ©

Hello, All!!
I came across the following.  I’ve probably sent it to you before.  But it’s a humorous bit of writing that fits into the GENERAL theme of how I got my start as a foreign correspondent and ended up an ol’ humor writer.

Miss Bunker  (I can’t remember her first name)  was principal of East Side School in Idaho Falls, Idaho, circa 1945,  when I was in Miss Melton’s (I can’t remember her first name) fourth grade class. Dean Larsen, who sat in front of me in Miss Melton’s  class, wrote a smart aleck note and passed it back, unnoticed, to me.  I wrote “Screw You!” on another piece of paper and passed it back.  Miss Melton saw me pass the note back to Dean, and told me to bring the note up and put it on her desk.  She went on with the class.   I forgot about the incident until the next day when Miss Melton told me to go see Miss Bunker.  In the Principal’s Office, Miss Bunker had the note in herhand.
Miss Bunker: “What does this mean?”
Me: (scrubbing my foot on the floor and looking down) “I don’t know.”
Miss Bunker:  “What does this mean?”
Me:  “I don’t know.”
Miss Bunker:  “I’m going to call your mother on the phone.”
Me: (in desperation) “It’s the title of a story.”
Miss Bunker: “A story?”
Me:  “Yes.  I’m writing a story about a boy who gets a tool box for Christmas.”
Miss Bunker:  “I want to read that story.  Bring it to my office by the end of the school day or I’m going to call your mother.”
That’s how I became a writer.  From that time to the present I’ve written a lot of fiction. Some of it was written for  newspapers and international new  services.  I’ve reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register, The  Deseret News (Salt Lake City) The United Press International  (from Buenos Aires), the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, The Miami Herald, the Kansas City  Star, Universal Press Syndicate. Everyone knows that newspaper stories aren’t supposed to be fiction. But  with tight deadlines, and because  journalism is more art than science,  a  lot of  creativity is involved in covering the news.
I’ve written news stories from the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean (including Cuba), the Sudan (Africa) Botswana (Africa) (the old) Yugoslavia, England, Hong Kong, and Letongaloosa (a fictional  town in the U.S. Midwest).  Many news stories, carrying my byline,  were actually published by newspapers or by news services.
For the past dozen years I have been writing  humorous fiction for the Kaw Valley Senior Monthly of Lawrence, Kansas.  Do I notice a difference between the fiction  writing I do now and the news writing I did as  a journalist?  Yes, I do.   Fact checking is more rigorous on the Kaw Valley Senior Monthly than  fact checking  was during the days when I  covered coups and earthquakes in Latin America.
-30- (that means “the end” in journalese)

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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A Deadline Every Minute (Deadline Larry)

 
I worked for United Press International and for several major newspapers.  All newspapers have deadlines and all reporters have to learn how to deal with the pressure of getting the information, organizing it into inverted pyramid news style, writing it and getting it in to the editors on deadline.  When one is in Buenos Aires (the BS bureau of United Press International) and you get a coup or an earthquake, you have a “Deadline Every Minute,” (there’s even a book with that title that is the history of United Press) because somewhere in the world there’s a newspaper ready to go to press and UPI is a worldwide news service.  After some early goof ups, I became a pretty good “write a good story on the fly” correspondent for UPI in Buenos Aires.
I got the UPI job in Buenos Aires (where I was a graduate student on a scholarship) because I had—as a freelance—Interviewed Adoph Eichmann’s wife and son a few weeks after the Israelis had kidnapped Eichmann from Argentine where he had been hiding out since WWII.  I submitted the story as a free lance to UPI. They didn’t buy the story.  But a few weeks later a position opened up in the Buenos Aires bureau and NY HQ told Bs.As. Bureau to hire me.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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