Tomorrow, Sept. 20, will officially be my one-year anniversary as a staff member with the Chino Valley Review and our parent company Western Newspapers, Inc.
Some of you may know that before becoming a staff member, I spent six years or so at the Review as a freelancer, spending most of my time on the sidelines, benches, and in the dugouts covering local sports.
But over the past 12 months, I've covered general news, features, and local politics, sitting through more council meetings than any human should have to (no offense intended, Mayor Marley).
Reminiscing about this past year, I got to thinking, what could we do to make the news more interesting? I came to an interesting conclusion - nothing.
Making news just ain't my job. That's the job of the people living in our town.
So I'm here to give you guys a few tips on making news.
First off, let's talk about those council meetings.
While our local officials do a fine job and generally conduct themselves in an orderly and professional manner, polite isn't always interesting.
Take Carson, Calif., for example.
In 2007 the town mayor was facing a recall election. During the council meeting where the recall was being discussed, an activist leading the recall left the podium and, according to a local media report, "She oddly smacked the public works commission chairwoman on the back of the head."
Now, I'm not in any way, shape, or form condoning this type of activity. But our town council stories would be a lot more interesting to read if Ron Grittman would just take one for the team every once in a while. I have a spare helmet laying around if he's interested.
How about breaking news? While I'm sure the local police department likes it nice and quiet, where's the fun in that?
A recent report out of Corpus Christi, Texas, said police found a man driving around a Walmart parking lot, "au naturale," as the French say. The report, from a local TV news station, said that officials hadn't decided whether or not the man would face any charges.
That story brings up two questions: 1. how hot was his upholstery, and 2. what exactly does it take to get charges filed in Texas?
Also out of Corpus Christi, a report of a woman driving her truck, wearing nothing but her cowboy boots. She was arrested after leading the police on a "slow speed chase."
So... she was arrested. What was the last straw, the boots or the chase? And what on earth is going on in south Texas?
I don't think that old line "must be something in the water" applies. I don't think these two were drinking much water.
While I've been typing this item up, I've had the police scanner on my desk turned up nice and loud.
Not a single naked driver call all night.
So, what can be done to make our news more interesting?
Chino Valley, the ball's in your court.
But please, stick to water and keep your pants on.
Matt Santos is the reporter for the Chino Valley Review.