By Bill Sniffin on Mon 07/08/2013 12:02pm
Looking back on a half century of holding jobs, the one job that always appealed to me the most and the one that still makes the most sense in describing me is the job of being a reporter.
As a teenage part-time reporter to a teenage full-time reporter for a small town newspaper, it was obvious from the beginning that reporting the news was just plain fun. This was going to be a great life. Way back in 1964 it was obvious that writing news stories would become the main focus of my life.
Back then, being a reporter was considered a craft as much as it was considered a profession. Journalism schools were coming into vogue but many of the old-time reporters and editors learned “on-the-job” starting out as cubs doing sports and obituaries and moving up through the ranks to become editors and sometimes even publishers. That was my life plan. It worked out exactly that way.
Being a news reporter has been a great experience. Up until 10 years ago, it was a fairly exclusive life.
It seems today just about every person is a reporter.
If you doubt that, open up a Facebook account or a Twitter account or any of those other countless internet sites that offer folks the right to say just about anything about anybody any time.
As a news junkie, tapping into all this news is irresistible for me. It is really difficult not to be scanning all this stuff all the time. I get most of my news from newspapers. All the following stories were in newspapers but because of my travel schedule, I first got wind of them while scanning Facebook.
Here are a few tidbits of the types of news that shows up on Facebook:
• Wyoming House Speaker Tom Lubnau of Gillette is vacationing in Morocco and apparently has convinced a high official of that country to import coal from America (preferably from the Gillette area.).
• Lovell, Wyoming native Lee Myers, who now lives in Omaha, was proud to point out that he watched 130 pallets of Envirogel 12 being unloaded, to be used to seal the bottom of the redesigned lake and mall running through downtown Omaha’s Missouri Park. That product comes from Wyo-Ben in Lovell, Greybull or Thermopolis and is about 200 tons of Wyoming native Bentonite.
• Sad story about 59-year old Barry Strang of Casper. He apparently bought a brand new Harley motorcycle in Lander and was killed in an accident while passing a big semi just outside Lander. The new bike had just three miles on its odometer.
Mr. Strang was wearing a helmet and was passing the semi on a curve in the passing lane on a four-lane highway when for some unknown reason, the bike slid under the trailer, killing him instantly.
• Up in Cody Sarah Mikesell Growney reported on Facebook that she remembered being mortified when guys whistled at her on the street when she was 18. Today edging closer to 40, “the five rednecks that made a total scene hooting and hollering at me at the stoplight as I was walking across Main Street made my day.”
• In Riverton, a woman on Haymaker Road complained to police that her cat wandered onto the neighbor’s property and they shot it. Deputies were unable to confirm the story.
• Also in Riverton at the local McDonald’s a gal reported to police that a man walked up to her and said there was a kitten stuck in her car’s front grill. He held up a tuft of fur to prove it. She didn’t buy his story and called the police later who determined there was not a kitten stuck in her grill and cautioned women to not fall for the old “kitten in the grill” story.
• Lori Hogan complained that miller moths had taken over Cheyenne. She used the term “gazillion,” which is an awful lot of the dusty, fluffy critters.
• Cody’s ubiquitous Dewey Vanderhoff who successfully planted a spoof in my column about a mystical event at the Kaycee rodeo some weeks ago, may have done it again with his Facebook post about when John Wayne visited the July 4 Stampede there.
“Most people don’t know that if it weren't for Harry Jackson, John Wayne would have never come to Cody for the Bicentennial. Harry persuaded him,” Dewey recalls. “Of course it was up to the corporations to pay Wayne's fee for the appearance.
Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at www.billsniffin.com. He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written four books. His most recent book is “Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders” which is available at www.wyomingwonders.com.