Feed Us, And We Will Come
There is a much maligned myth among the media — local, state or national — that if you feed us, we will be happy to cover your event. Now true journalists pay no mind to the buffet table of select meats and cheeses at news events, nor do they knock people over for first dibs on the sprinkle-covered doughnuts at press conferences. Chocolate dessert fountains fail to impress us after the fourth or fifth visit.
That just isn’t professional. We are there to cover the news — not fill our pockets with cashews or stuff chocolates into Ziploc baggies in our purses. Those things don’t really happen — much. Talk about fake news.
However, I will relate to you a true story involving some of the nation’s most elite news folks. It was during Bill Clinton’s run for president when he made a bus trip to Wheeling. His bus was followed by another coach filled with prominent news men and women from across the country and world. There were reporters and photographers packed into the bus.
When the buses arrived in Elm Grove where some church ladies had prepared a lovely picnic-type lunch for the prominent guests, I and fellow reporter Linda Comins witnessed an unbelievable sight. As the candidates moved inside the church building, the news media also disembarked their bus. They looked like refugees from a Third World country, haggered from days and nights on the road.
And then it happened. It was something of a stampede. The reporters and photographers raced one another, literally hurtling the bushes in the church yard to get to the picnic tables of food. Forget the political side of this event — there was food, real homemade grub prepared by the blessed hands of West Virginia church ladies.
It was as if a magician waved a magic wand and made the food disappear. It was akin to the movie “Gone in Sixty Seconds.” Linda and I stood in awe. It was almost a more interesting story than the future president stepping off the bus.
After they filled their faces and bellies, we asked a few of our fellow workers in the trenches about the food. They said for weeks they had lived off of fast food topped with heartburn and indigestion. So when they saw and smelled that homecooking, they were caught up in the purple haze of potato salad, fried chicken and frosted cake, and headed for the paper plates.
As for us in the newsroom, we try to keep our emotions in check when a plate of cookies or a box of pizza suddenly appears at the design desk work/food table.
I’ll admit there was some excitement when a certain restaurant/bakery bestowed us with huge muffins, sweet rolls and delicious cookies over the recent holidays. We at least waited until the delivery guy got back on the elevator before we ripped open the boxes and devoured said treats with glee.
After all, we are only human – and those cinnamon rolls had happy written all over them.
Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at: email@example.com.