Damn delays
April 27, 2008, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Journalism

On Friday, I reported and wrote a story (kinda an obit/feature hybrid) on the guy who owned Cougar Country Drive-In (a Pullman hotspot burger joint, for those of you who don’t know). He died the week before.

It was a pleasure to write; I’ve found that obituaries are some of the best articles to do because, perhaps surprisingly, people really like to talk about their loved ones who died. Maybe it helps them cope.

I talked to Ray Stephens Sr.’s grandson and daughter — and family friend, Pullman mayor, WSU professor, “voice of the Cougars,” everything Glenn Johnson — for the article. And of course told them when it was scheduled to be in the paper.


Friday evening, I finished the article, sent it in and called one of the city editors. “Oh, nobody told you? We pushed it back to Sunday.”

OK, Sunday.

On Saturday I got an e-mail from that same editor (who, incidentally, is probably my favorite on the City Desk). The article will now run Monday or Tuesday.

You know, that’s fine. I really don’t care when it runs — as long as they change my “Sundays” and “Mondays” to “April 20” and “April 21.”

The thing that bugs me is I told Stephens’ family members the story would run Saturday. I wouldn’t call them to tell them it’s delayed a day. But now, I almost feel like I should call one of them to let them know I wasn’t an impostor posing as a reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

They’ll eventually see it, I guess.

I suppose I should have learned my lesson by now, at this point in my journalism career: Never tell sources a definite publishing date. Whenever you do that, your story is almost guaranteed to be delayed.


1 Comment so far
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You should definitely call them. It might mess up you and Lonnie’s usual eating routine if you feel awkward going to Cougar Country until it publishes.

Comment by Lisa Waananen

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