Thursday, October 02, 2008

I'm Not Dead

Nor is the blog. But when my brother told me that he was tired of reading how tired I was all the time, I lost most of my available material.

I'm still doing the morning traffic at WTSP. I called my supervisor at, the company that provides the traffic data to the station as well as the person who delivers it on the air, and he said that very little had happened in the search for the previous traffic reporter's permanent replacement.

I have been told I am merely filling the gap until that happens. That's fine with me; I'd just like to get an idea of how long the gap might be. I intimated that I might make the decision for them when other work precluded me from continuing at the station.

I was not bluffing to try to force their hand. Other freelance work has begun to pick up enough that the temp traffic gig might soon get in the way.

Just today, I mailed off a story to the high school sports show on Sun Sports about a volleyball player in Tampa who happens to aspire to be a journalist. (That led to the story's hook: "Some stories seem to write themselves. This one could have written itself.") I talked to a story subject for WEDU's A Gulf Coast Journal, got the go-ahead for two more ZooToo TV stories and had to look into the possibility of a follow-up to my first story about Southeastern Guide Dogs school.

I got an e-mail from one of the school's graduates -- the human, not the dog -- to let me know that her local Wal-Mart and a restaurant near her home refused entry to her guide dog. This is not a problem except that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that businesses open to the public allow service dogs.

Oh, wait. Maybe there is a problem.

Since the incidents happened in the sticks of eastern Alabama -- whose nearest city, if you can call it that, is Columbus, Georgia -- I thought that maybe notice of this pesky little federal law passed in 1990 was slow to filter down to that part of the country, what with having to be transported by mule and all.

But the folks at Southeastern tell me that this is not an isolated incident. It's not even the first time they've had to put a call into Wal-Mart to remind them that the ADA is not just a good idea; it's the law.

"There sure is a story," the person at Southeastern e-mailed me.

"Great!" I thought before remembering that this is not great for people already dealing with needing a guide dog in the first place. It's always been a part of reporting that I didn't like that someone else's misfortune could be good for me.

I had the presence to reply, "Part of me is glad to hear there's a story here; part of me is sorry." But if a story needs to be told, I might as well be the one who tells it.

BTW, the story about Southeastern Guide Dogs has generated more than 200 comments. Thirty-eight of 40 people have voted it a "thumbs up." What were the other two morons thinking?

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