Columbia is building a new public high school, Muriel Battle High School, which is to be completed and ready for students by August 2013. Last week, I met with Deputy Superintendent Dr. Nick Boren to hear what progress had been made on the site.
Another reporter, on a different beat had also been working on a story related to the school; only her piece was focused on the off-site development.
My editor thought that since we were writing about the same general topic it would make more sense to merge our stories into one bigger piece.
At first, I wasn’t so sure that our stories would be similar enough to merge coherently. But then, Dr. Boren gave me the perfect transition when he mentioned the off-site development in our conversation. Despite having a nice segway, merging two stories that had already been written still took some time and patience. I think it turned out pretty well though!
The biggest lesson I learned on this past story, aside from how to merge two stories into one without losing my mind, is to make sure you know how and WHEN to get a hold of a source to accuracy check. It wasn’t until the day after I wrote the story that it was edited and I went to accuracy check, only to find that my source would be unavailable until the following Tuesday. I was so bummed I started to tear up right there in the middle of the newsroom. So goes life.
But the good news is the story got published and now I know – always ask the source when they will be available! Sheesh.