Friday, December 01, 2006

Transparent journalist: evolution of a final copy

I have work to do today, so I'm going to use my blog to get it done. Welcome to a session of "Transparent Journalist." I've read discussions about transparent news rooms where the public, through cyber means, can click in to news room discussions. The Spokesman-Review has a blog called "News Is a Conversation," ( where readers can also voice their concerns about what constitutes news, quality of news coverage, etc.

Last night, Dave Oliveria's "Huckleberries Online" blog ( released a reporter's notes for the blog's ongoing interactive discussions about the public release of email exchanges on computers in the Coeur d'Alene prosecuting attorney's office. Readers have weighed in on their thoughts regarding this issue, and the story continues to grow as the focus bounces from the prosecutors' office computer woes to those in other public entities.

Now, the story I'm going to write can hardly compete with most of what we read or hear on a daily basis, but I am considering it news. News comes in all sorts of packages, but we often categorize it in two general areas: good news and bad news. We all know which tends to attract more readers, but fortunately, our media will still offer the good news stories, which include human interest features, stories of victory and stories of upcoming events, for example.

My work today involves an upcoming event, so I'm going to start out this morning with the first draft. As the day progresses, and as I obtain more information, I'll add it. When I feel the story is complete, I'll polish. I'll read it several times, looking for a better word here or a more concise wording there.

Finally, probably tomorrow, I'll read it again, give it some final polish and submit it. This story is designed as a press release. How and if it appears in various publications will vary, according to the editor(s) and the audience.

I have a double motive for doing this transparent journalism today: one is to use my blog time to get some work done; the other is to start getting the word out as soon as possible. Therefore, Slightdetour readers get advance information as it unfolds.

If you have questions that I'm not answering, feel free to comment. Maybe I need to find the answers before submitting the story. After all, it's my job as the writer to consider my audience and think about all the questions they may need to have answered to fully understand this story.

Since it's hardly a controversial piece, I'm more concerned with getting the word out about an upcoming event than worrying about someone getting mad because it lacks balance. With that in mind, one item that you can expect to see unfolding through this story's development is a brief statement about each author's works. Another note (after publishing the first couple of drafts): I've found that the blogger program offers plenty of glitches when transferring information from another word processing program, so bulleted items appear a little bit discombobulated---Is that a word?

So, here goes.

Some might call it an author smorgasboard. After all, when more than a dozen local authors and one map designer show up at the local museum to autograph their works ranging from Hoodoo History to portraits of people spanning three centuries, to full-color recreational maps, there’s bound to be a wide range of offerings on the menu. Speaking of vast selections, there's even a brand-new book by a local caterer about yurts.

The menu also includes festive baked goods and beverages alongwith a chance to browse the museum's historical displays. Best of all, it offers a great gift-buying venue for those special bibliophiles.

Bonner County Historical Museum curator Ann Ferguson promises something for virtually every reading palate during the Author Signing/Bonner County Museum Open House Dec. 15 from 3-7 p.m. Local authors will sign their photo books, illustrated children’s books, historical accounts, humorous tales, travelogues, novels, and even a story collection about the inexplainable. Several publications have been released this past year.

"As well as an exhibit that walks vistors through the past 200 years of Bonner County history, other displays cover subjects like the Humbird Lumber Co., the history of county granges and the unique white pine bark canoes used by the Salish people throughout this region," Ferguson says. "Volunteer staff will also be available to answer questions visitors may have about how to conduct family or local historical research in the museum archive."

The festive holiday event will also have a table where visitors can register for membership or to work sign up as a volunteer for the Bonner County Historical Society. With the museum spearheading many events for the 2007 Bonner County's Centennial year, membership dues and more volunteers will be especially helpful.

Quote from Historical Society Board member Dick Kramer about why membership would be a good idea this year. Highlights of the benefits for joining and annual dues.

Ferguson expects that the author list could grow, but the following will be on hand for sure:

· Virginia Overland: Hoodoo Valley History, $37.50 hard cover.

· Paul Rechnitzer: Take the Train to Town: The History of the Railroads in Bonner County, Vol. 1, (2006 release $39.95), Always on the Other Side: The History of the Ferries in Bonner County, ($27.50) softcover.

· Sandy Compton, Jason's Passage ($7.00) and Archer MacClehan & The Hungry Now ($14.00). Buy both novels and get a dollar off of each.

· Bob Hamilton: 263-4393: 50 True Tales of Northern Idaho. Collaborated with Bob Kellogg and compiled from local newspaper accounts.

· Marianne Love: Pocket Girdles ($9.95) and Postcards from Potato Land ($11.95). Plus pre-orders for autographed copies of 2007 release Lessons with Love: Tales of teaching and learning in a small town. ($16. plus mailing).

  • Linda Hackbarth: Bayview and Lakeview and Other Early Settlements on Southern Lake Pend Oreille ($14.95) soft cover; DVD with the same title ($14.95).

· Ben Olson: Wanderlost (2006 release, $28.95) hard cover novel dealing with self-discovery on a cross-country train trip.

· Bonnie Shields: 263-6534: Jasper the Story of a Mule: ($40.), The Christmas Caper ($25 apiece) , A Precious Valentine, illustrated children's books written by Meredith Hodges (daughter of Charles M. Schultz), DVD of the first book. Jody Foss, used to live in Sandpoint and rode mule across country by herself. Mules across the Great Wide Open, ($16) In the Company of Mules. ($20)

· Nancy Renk: Driving Past: 6 Historical and Geological Driving Tours of Bonner County ($4.95).

  • Sylvie Amezcua White: Lake Pend Oreille Recreation Map, full color, flat or folded, with text narrative lake facts and feature descriptions on back side, (2006 release, $12)

· Mark Story: Living in Three Centuries, a coffee-table-style black-and-white photo book featuring portraits of individuals from around the world whose lives have spanned three centuries, (2006 release, $125.00).

· Winston H. Cook and Dolora Cook Deal, Incidents Beyond Coincidence (Paperback), ($14.95).

  • Becky Kemery (from 3-5 p.m.): Yurts: Living in the Round, (2006 release, $24.95). Kemery introduces the innovators who redesigned the yurt and took it from back country trekking and campground uses to modern permanent homes and offices.

Funds raised from book sale commissions will go toward museum needs.

"We're excited to host so many talented authors this year at our Museum Open House," Ferguson adds, "We'd like to invite everyone to stop by to meet them, enjoy some homemade treats and tour the museum our volunteers have decorated for the holidays."

If unable to attend the event, anyone who would like to purchase autographed copies of the authors' books can contact the museum in advance and plan to pick up the books after the open house.

The museum is located at 611 South Ella in Lakeview Park. For more information, call 263-2344.


Word Tosser said...

The question I have is..... if we come to buy a book or more....can we bring in books that we already have that are not signed. I have one of yours, I have one of Virginia Overland.... so will that be in the works too... or only the ones bought?

MLove said...

I'm sure that will be fine, Cis. After all, the event is twofold---an author signing and a museum open house. It's a good way to get folks to come and see what the museum has to offer. I can tell you from past open houses that the treats are good too. See ya there.