• Getting two sets of quotes from a coach so he could write a story quickly and get to a party.
I interviewed him before the game and he gave me two sets of quotes — one if they lost and the other if they won.
He used all the cliches coaches use: they/we wanted it more, they/we were more focused, they/we played with more heart.
I was able to write the story in 15 minutes and got to the party with time to spare.
• Dating a source (who happened to be a beauty queen)
I was the new reporter in town interviewing the newly crowned Miss Belding.
When she found out I had just started at the paper, she offered to show me around the city, kind of as a goodwill ambassador. So I asked her out to dinner.
• Making up quotes.
Who needs notes?: I had interviewed a nun who played shortstop for one of the local women’s softball teams.
All of my interview was written down in my reporter’s notebook that I lost in Kalamazoo while covering the state tennis finals.
There was no way I was ever going to find these notes.
I should have called the nun back and confessed, but instead wrote the story from memory complete with quotations.
She liked the story, didn’t complain and no one was ever the wiser.
Also he burns a source, but that hardly seems worth mentioning by the time you get to that part of the story. In an email, Local News Editor Doug Donnely writes, “Jeff definitely has his own style and unique way of talking about himself in columns — to me, it’s what makes his columns so interesting.” He continues:
I have not had any reaction from the public to this point. I suspect since most of the items he was writing about were harmless enough that readers got a kick out of them rather than being offended by them.