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OPINION: Getting the news to you

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

“How do you get the news?”

A variation of this question was asked of me a little while ago by a community member.

It made me stop for a minute as I realized that there may be several people who wonder the same thing.

At the time, I essentially answered “We attend A LOT of meetings and get press releases from organizations.”

While this is true, it is not the best explanation of how community reporters find information that readers need and want.

It is true that the editorial staff here at The Clanton Advertiser attends a lot of meetings. I personally will have covered three this week.

Some meetings are basic housekeeping measures for local governments and boards, but other times one meeting can lead to multiple stories and prompt follow-ups and future articles.

Sometimes stories come from looking back at previous stories that need an update, or finding an old email that was never answered.

Press releases are helpful when something has happened at a state level that has a local impact. Many accident and crime stories have been prompted by information in a press release.

News comes from a lot of other places. Story ideas come from phone calls from readers, business owners, elected officials, previous sources and sometimes people who think there is another side to an issue that needs to be told. Ideas come from scrolling local school and organizational Facebook pages, I often reaching out to principals, department heads and previous sources for ideas.

For a story to be written, there has to be a source willing to give information for an article.

Sometimes elected officials cannot answer questions because they do not have enough information or because of ongoing negotiations.

Sometimes people do not want to be interviewed about their life or have their picture taken.

This is when having a plan B in the works comes in handy.

Many ideas for feature stories have come from jotting down notes when working on other stories or during regular conversations.

So, if you ever wondered where the news comes from, now you know.