Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Friday, April 27, 2007

A bit in my blood

A little bit of the newspaper mindset must have snuck into my blood in the past months. Or maybe it's just my ultra-competitive nature manifesting itself again here.

I find myself taking perhaps overmuch delight whenever we break a story before the other news outlets. I find myself searching the other newspapers, and even checking online with the TV stations, to make sure we beat them to the punch with important stories.

Many people proclaim that they play various sports, enter various competitions, for "love of the game." Some of these profess that they just play for fun -- it doesn't even matter if they win or lose, so long as they get to play.

But I've got to say that for me, playing is much more fun if I win. It makes the 18-hour Mondays and bleary-eyed Tuesdays seem more worthwhile if I can look at our competitors on Wednesday and Thursday and see filler or old news where I wrote a story about something new and relevant. It's even more fun when I read their next week's paper and see them trying to play catch-up, running basically the same article we ran a week before.

We've been getting a fair amount of that lately, which makes this all a bit more fun. A few weeks ago, my editor wrote a piece on a new development -- a 3,000 house development -- that had been rumored for ages, but no one had anything concrete about. Until we did. Several weeks back, we were the first to find evidence that one of our commissioners was moving (again, rumors had flown for ages, but no one had proof). I picked another story out of a letter to the editor of another paper, and it turned out to be a pretty big deal. This past week, all the other papers, even the nearby daily, were scrambling to cover it. In this week's paper, I wrote a piece on Rep. Thomas Wright being called up for public investigative hearings by the State Board of Elections. The weekly would almost certainly have beaten us on that one, but their Raleigh desk chief (who has covered this issue very, very well for the most part -- best work I've seen from that paper) was on vacation, and none of the other local three were clued in. That was fun. We've been beaten a couple of times too, but lately, I'm pretty sure we're winning a good deal more often than we're losing. And whether its ink in my blood or something much older than that, I like it.

In the church world, there really aren't any scoops. If I come up with a new doctrine, that's likely a problem, not a good thing. That sense of competitiveness can't control church ministry -- I'm not trying to compete with other pastors. Guess I'll have to get back to wrestling or chess or something.


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