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Thursday, July 19, 2012

A New Look

It's a problem that's confounded reporters for ages-- how to cover an event that you've seen many many times, and still make it interesting.

My Tuesday assignment was the 88th annual St. Ann's Novena in Scranton.

It's a wonderful event that brings out the faithful.  Thousands of people visit the basilica-- in spite of some intense summertime heat.

I knew I was in for a challenge at 3 AM Tuesday.  Writing the preview story was a struggle.  I wanted to say something that hasn't been said before.  It just wasn't happening.  The final decision was simple is best, and a straight line is the shortest distance between two points.  I kept it basic.  It worked.

Then, I had to work on a story for our noon broadcast.  As I looked around the basilica, I didn't see anything I hadn't seen many times before.  There was no new hook, no new angle.

I decided just to talk to people, and go with what I heard.  Thankfully, I met a man from Jermyn.  He noted the number of mature Americans at the novena.  The gentleman added things like the novena, with its outdoor activities, are what's needed to draw young people to the Church.  Yes, capital C.  Bingo!  I had my angle, and built my story around the young and the not so young at the novena.  It beat the same old, same old.

With most stories, we have a road map going in.  There are times you have to wander off the beaten path to see what's really going on.