This piece originally appeared in Local Edition, our newsletter following the digital transformation of local news. Want to be part of the conversation? You can sign up here.
My family has two elves on the shelf. Chubby was our first, named possibly for his round cheeks. Then came Jingle, because my daughter is just wily enough to need an extra set of plastic eyes on her around the holidays.
Just after they showed up this year, my daughter found them drawing on the kitchen table. The next morning, she headed right back to that spot and right for a piece of paper I hadn't noticed.
It was a note from the girls next door for Chubby and Jingle. Those girls wanted to know if our elves had seen their elf, Zack, and if he would be arriving soon.
They left a "check one" in pencil at the bottom, along with a box for yes and another for no.
Our elves must still be doing their reporting, I told my wily one, and hopefully we'll hear back soon. And we did — they didn't know his status, according to the note that showed up the next morning (looking remarkably like it was written with the left hand of a right-hander,) but they had seen Zack so at least he was okay.
I learned two things from all this. One: Check the area around the elves carefully each night. And two: If you want the best information possible, ask the people who are the most likely to actually know it.
In that case, it was Chubby and Jingle.
In this case, it's you.
For one of our last editions of the year, please be part of this very short survey below about Local Edition. What's working? What's not? What should we talk about next? You can also find the survey here.
I'll report back the results, and they will guide what we talk about next year.
Next week, for our year-end edition, another smart local journalist is taking over. See you then!
(Oh and Zack did eventually show up next door, in case you were concerned. Apparently, he was delayed due to "extra training.")