Stringers, 5 “Ws” and an “H” and the Inverted Pyrimad

A stringer is a person who provides stories to newspapers on particular topics or events. In many communities groups such as the local Rotary, Lions, and Chamber of Commerce have “stringers” who write articles and send them in to the paper. In many cases, the paper puts on training programs so the stringer knows a bit about the inverted pyramid and the five w’s and the “h”. (The most important part of the story goes in the first paragraph, then items of lesser and lesser importance. And of course you know about Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How…items that must be in all stories.)

There is a legendary story about a stringer who missed the class, and a night editor who cut a corner.

Headline:

Garden Club Meets;

Elects Mavis Johnson President

The Story:

The Fillmore Garden Club met Tuesday evening. The first order of business was the election of Mavis Johnson as president. She immediately assumed the chair of the meeting.

Gladys Sims moved that the president be stripped of all fiduciary responsibility and that all dealings with money be with her office, that of treasurer. A heated discussion ensued.

Mary Acton attempted to second the motion but was shouted down by three members of the Orchid committee, who are charged with planning the upcoming Orchid festival. Mavis attempted to regain order but could not get the attention of the Orchid group.

In an effort to hold the meeting together, Mavis pulled a sig sauer pistol out of her purse and fired it toward the ceiling. The bullet ricocheted off the light in the middle of the room and struck Mary Acton in the arm. She was removed to Mercy Hospital by responding paramedics. Mavis was taken into custody by Fillmore Police for firing a weapon within the city limits and owning an unregistered firearm.

The meeting was adjourned due to lack of a quorum.

Two lessons – First – the “Stringer” needs to know what is news and what isn’t. Second, the editor needs to read the entire article before inserting the headline.

JVH

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