Friday, March 14, 2008

Gotta love this 7-year-old journalist

Here's a heart-warming story out of the Sacramento Bee of a 7-year-old who started his own neighborhood newspaper.

He got the scoop on a neighborhood burglary after someone kicked in the front door of a nearby home in broad daylight. It was a rare and startling event in Finn's upscale neighborhood.

"That was real news," said neighbor Will Benware, who said he is a regular reader.

Finn also writes about his own experiences. One headline read, "Editor loses tooth." Another story was about the death of his pet rabbit: "He had striped ears, and died because, well, I do not know."

This story brought back fond memories of my childhood. I never wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. And good thing, given the market today. But, I actually did have a newspaper when I was 9.

In Mr. McAraw's 4th grade class, we had something called mini-society where we had fake money and started businesses within the classroom. We would play out the society for a few hours every week to learn basic economics. More of a traditionalist at 9 than I am now, I started a bank and a newspaper. My paper was a hand-written, one sheet (front and back if I recall correctly), and printed on -- I'm really dating myself here -- Ditto machine. That's the carbon-paper based method with the purple ink. This was the first kind of photocopier, the paper actually came out wet. Unbelievable now. Anyway, so I did have my ink-stained period, it was just at age 9. I don't remember what exactly I wrote about, just news around the classroom I guess, but I never recall being at a loss for words.

The papers sold well, but I did not max out my circulation because copies were passed around in the classroom. This is the problem of having your audience too close together. Other classmates sold things like cookies or crafts. One girl in our class made a real killing. Her mom was a stay-at-homer (not a defenseman), and would make all kinds of stuff. It was totally unfair. Our teacher finally told her she had to pay her mom for the work -- like off-shoring to China. Anyway, my bank didn't make money because no one took out loans for me to collect interest on. But I carried the money around in my pencil box and everyone trusted me, which counts for something I guess.

I also visited a local newspaper on a trip with the Brownies when I was about the same age. I wasn't so interested in writers, presses and whatnot, what I was most impressed with was the "wires that brought the words in from around the world." I thought this was amazing and everyone should have this. A couple years later we had fax machines and then the internet.

And here I am still on it.

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