Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A little something special

Becky over at moonfrog is having a "little something special" contest for the holidays. She's asked bloggers to post a photo and a story about a special decoration that makes your holiday season special. Here's my entry!

When I was a student intern at The Herald in 2003, the first assignment I got was to write a story about an "interesting" crafter at the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market in Halifax. The assignment had been pawned off on me after all of the seasoned reporters pooh-poohed it as a lame holiday story. I didn't have the luxury of declining the assignment since I was the lowest on the totem pole, so I accepted. Lucky for me, I have a knack for making the most boring, eye-rolling story ideas into award-winning, front page stories (it's true! The only award I ever won was for a story with the headline, "1,000 cookies a day.").

Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up interviewing Elizabeth Brown, an artist from Liverpool who saw "faces" in other people's woodpiles. She used her wood carving skills to bring those faces out and was selling her carvings at the craft market. The story didn't make the front page, but it did end up on page A3, above the fold. (click on the image to enlarge it and read the story.)

I went to the craft market on the day of publication and found Elizabeth Brown. She had picked up The Herald before setting up her shop that morning and she said several people had stopped into her booth after having read the story. She was so thrilled with what I had written that she gave me one of her old world Santa Christmas tree ornaments.

The ornament is still one of my favourites and I smile every time I see it. I usually keep it hanging around year-round as a reminder of how I was able to turn what could have been a really lame story into one that brought me compliments from those hard-ass reporters who wouldn't touch the assignment with a 10-foot pole.