March 1, 2024 at 11:05 a.m.

What I have learned

by J. Patrick Reilly

I have spent a good portion of my life in the information business. One thing I have learned about writing stories, especially sports, is somewhere in the article you have to give the score.

Why?  Because it is important information.

When I write a story about a meeting I try and say when the meeting was held.  I think that is important for perspective, especially if something controversial happened and there is already misinformation out on the street.

I try and check and check some more the proper spelling of a name.  I remember a few years ago a frequent flyer in the courts had the same name as a fine, upstanding community member.  We had to make sure to properly identify the person who had been charged by use of a middle initial.

I learned the importance of names the hard way. I incorrectly reported a hire of a coach with the name I thought I heard which was totally incorrect.  From that point on I always ask the board or committee to give me proper spelling of names of those who are hired or appointed.

What I am saying is information is important.  Dates, times, descriptions of events are all needed to know what is going on.

My advice is to use the who, what, where, when, why method when providing information.  If all those criteria are met, your story will be a success.