Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

CNHI Originals

March 25, 2012

A different side of Lifestyles

BLUEFIELD — As I walked around the Mercer County Courthouse, a few local law enforcement officials joked and said, “It must be a slow day in lifestyles.” Maybe not slow, but a feature article was definitely not a priority on the summer-like Tuesday morning in Princeton. I was covering a different story for the newspaper, one that represented a serious matter, a murder arraignment in a case involving a local Princeton resident.

A day after the March 1 murder, I had to call the local authorities to clarify some information. Being the only reporter in the newsroom, I asked Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash for new details. My first story appeared two days after the murder. Throughout the investigation, I continued to speak with authorities. Last week, less than a month later, I stood in a courtroom, taking notes about the accused and his criminal past.

It was not a typical day for a lifestyle editor.

Here is where things start to blend, where journalism becomes whole, not individual sections of the newspaper pie. The golden rule — the one all reporters and editors follow — is to inform the community, regardless if it is about the newest trend in gardening or a murder arraignment in a small town like Princeton.

I had a job to do, an important one. After the first proceeding, I hurried to my car, well as fast as my four-inch heels could carry me on the courthouse sidewalks. I wrote my update in a green and white notebook. Photographer Eric DiNovo remarked it looked like a diary. I reminded him lifestyle editors use fashionable notebooks. It felt odd to write a story with pen and paper. I was used to the comfortable convenience of my office. Plus, Lifestyles is done in advance, not on the spur of the moment in the front seat of a Jeep Liberty. I called City Editor Charles Owens, who listened and typed up the story for the newspaper’s website. A few hours later, I was in another courtroom for the bond hearing involving the suspect. Just like this morning, I called the newspaper, gave a short update and then headed back to the office. I had a story to write for the Wednesday edition of the Daily Telegraph.

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