Monday, June 04, 2007

Covering graduations

Ben Norris, our summer intern from Phoenix, arrived in the newsroom at 2 p.m. Friday.
Five hours later, he was covering Midview High School's graduation.
Ben, a student at Northern Arizona University, and Rania Shakkour, a graduate of Amherst Steele and a junior at the University of Dayton, have been up to their tassels in area high school graduations.
You see, I insisted we continue covering graduation ceremonies with reporters even though the metro editor wanted to stop doing so. She wanted us to send photographers only. Take pictures, skip the stories is what se wanted to do.
"I don't have anybody to do them," she told me.
"Maybe the interns could help out," I replied.
To say she took me up on that is an understatement. The interns are not only helping out, they are doing most of them.
After covering Midview on Friday, Ben covered Firelands on Saturday and then Avon on Sunday.
I talked to him Sunday afternoon.
"You doing OK, Ben? Have you been able to find all the schools? Sorry about the baptism by fire."
"Oh, no, I'm fine. I'm getting used to finding ways to write them all differently," he told me.
And then today, I talked to Rania. She's not only from the area, she started her internship a few weeks ago. I wasn't nearly as worried about her. So I teased her.
"Hey, Ben," I said over her head, "I hear Rania likes doing graduation stories so much that she wants all of yours."
"Oh, no, not me," she said good-naturedly. "I'm counting down the number I have left ... "

Do you think the stories about area high school graduations are valuable or do you think, like our metro editor, that a photo would be sufficient?
It's a lot of work getting them all covered. Our competition doesn't do it.
Should we bag it next year?

Flag flak wearin' me down

E-mails dripping with venom -- red, white and blue venom, that is -- continue to trickle in a week after we ran an American flag in the paper on Memorial Day.

It ran in a classified advertising section that contained memoriams. In case you didn't see it, it looked like the one hanging on the Pentagon in the picture at right. It had the stars in the upper left-hand corner.

Some emails have accused us of being unpatriotic but most have accused us of being just plain stupid.

I'm the first to admit that we do some dumb things occasionally but the way we ran this flag wasn't one of them.

The flag we ran is meant to be hung vertically and, according to flag etiquette rules, "When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street."

And that is exactly what we did.

Anyway, if anyone asks you (as they click their tongue) if you saw the way the Chronicle ran the American flag on Memorial Day, please tell them what I have just told you.

And next time, I think we will run the flag as it is traditionally seen: horizontally.

(Geez. It's been a long time since I posted something new here.
If you've been hanging with me, thanks.)