This morning, in keeping with my “Sometimes” theme, I spent a couple of hours looking through my records detailing every single thing I ever wrote when I worked at the Chronicle-Telegram between 1968 and 1986.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes it does seem over the top–even for me–and self-gratifying. But that wasn’t my purpose. I was looking for something in particular, an article that I wrote in 1976…so far found the date, but not the article itself.
WHY would I have “every single thing I ever wrote” recorded? Because back at the beginning of my years as a newspaper writer I was a correspondent…which meant that I did exactly the same type of work as when I was a regular beat full-time reporter, except there was a big difference when it came to payroll. As a correspondent I had to keep all of the clippings of articles that I wrote, and submit them in an envelope with my pay account. Therefore, it behooved me to keep decent records in my books, and I continued the practice after I went on salary.
Having kept all of this stuff until today, in fact, provided me with a very handy index. Included is the date, title of the article, how much I got paid for each feature story, photograph, bake-sale announcement, city council and school board meetings for every little town (except for the two major cities) in the County.
The original articles are still intact, although many of them are not in chronological order because I have raided the file over the years for various reasons, and now I want to dig some of the features out to use in blog articles.
The specific article I am looking for now is from January 4, 1976, about the dredging of the Huron River harbor by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. This search involves finding photos from my dozen or more photo albums…which are more or less intact despite the rummaging through the albums every time one of the kids brought home a new friend over the last forty years or more.
Now, here is a real eye-roller… I also have ALL of my notebooks from all of those years, notes from all of those meetings and interviews … half of which are in Gregg Shorthand. (No, I probably couldn’t read them very easily now.) Those countless notebooks just languish in a big box down in the basement, and are moved occasionally when needed.
WHY would I save those? Here’s the thing 🙂 — once upon a time I was a reasonably good stenographer, and could (theoretically) capture everything that anyone said at city council meetings…so that might be a great source of information, although very, very few present day reporters would ever give an owl’s hoot about this stuff.
So that explains why I’m not doing real work on my blogs.