In the spring of 2009, my roommates and I were planning a birthday party for one of my best friends. We were arbitrarily throwing out theme ideas that grew increasingly ridiculous as the conversation went on. Someone would toss out an idea and everyone would respond with laughter and other stupid ideas. The early ideas escape me now, but I remember very clearly suggesting that we throw a Civil War themed party. I laughed, but everyone else got quiet.
“That’s it,” my friend said.
So we throw a very satirical, irreverent Civil War themed birthday party. Its still common for one of us to say, while waxing nostalgic about our college days, that the Civil War party was one of the better parties.
So when an editor asked if anyone wanted to go to a dedication ceremony for a Civil War memorial, I jumped on it.
I won’t go into details here about what the actual event is, you can check it out on the Mo’an website here
But I learned some important lessons while working on this piece.
Although I spent a lot of time researching the battle that happened there, I had only written a few grafs of b-material before leaving for the event. When we didn’t get back until after 4, I didn’t have a lot of time to write. Consequently, the story didn’t get to the copy desk until after 8 (which in my defense is pretty fast for a 50 inch story). I definitely should have written a lot more of the stuff I could have gotten without going to the event before going to the event. That way it would have been a much quicker turn when I got back to the news room.