Meeting the readers

Last Friday, my paper’s tabloid ran my cover story about South Florida Beer Week. Tonight, I was shooting a photo gallery of one of the Beer Week events — a five-stop bar crawl.

I approached a two men to take their picture, and it turns out one of them had cut out my story, annotated it and brought it with him in his pocket.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget there are readers on the other side of my screen, so to speak. I write so many stories, shoot so many stills and videos, I barely get time to think about them after they’re sent to the layout desk or posted online.

The concept of a quarter-million people reading the paper that runs my stories doesn’t always translate to “a quarter-million people possibly reading my stories” in my mind. But this man read the Beer Week story. He used it as a guide for his Thursday pub crawl.

“Did you write about the pub crawl?”

“Yes.”

“Is it the [tabloid] that comes in the paper?”

“Yep.”

“You mean — is it this?” and he pulled out a stash of crumbled napkins and receipts from his pocket, where he’d been carrying my 1,000 words folded in four. He’d made brackets around the crawl route info with a red pen.

“You should have her autograph it,” his friend said.

Meeting the readersSo the man on the right produced a pen, and I signed the ragged newsprint for him. The “thank you” I scribbled using my left palm for support looked like one word.

They congratulated me on being a young writer with a full-time job.

They read my story. They’re not circulation numbers.

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