Archived Story

Looking back, moving on

Published 8:35pm Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The first time I covered Scale Back Alabama I forgot to ask the contest’s winner just exactly how much weight he had lost.

So I had written a story about a weight loss competition without knowing how much weight the winner lost. That’s a little like writing a story about football without knowing the final score.

Needless to say the blunder resulted in more work for this reporter as I was forced to track down the winner for a follow up about how much weight he lost and how he lost it.

Since that time my skill level as a journalist has increased and I no longer write event preview stories and leave out the date, which leaves my readers confused because they know of the event, but don’t know when it is taking place.

I once wrote a story on a local veteran, who had a case full of honors and medals from his time in service. Among those honors was the Wharing Medal of Honor, given to him by the Korean government. The novice journalist I was at the time mistakenly implied in my story that the medal was the Congressional Medal of Honor.

After a few phone calls and a polite e-mail from Birmingham News staff writer Jeremy Gray, I realized I was mistaken and had to run a correction.

I also badly misquoted Dadeville City Councilman Randy Foster the day after he was reelected to serve on the council. He told me he wanted to help make Dadeville better during his time in office. I wrote, for some reason, that he wanted to help “make me better,” which was completely incorrect.

Needless to say I got a phone call from the councilman the next morning and made the necessary corrections to the story before it was printed in The Dadeville Record.

Sure, every once and a while I’ll leave a source’s title out of a story or misspell a name, but those mistakes are casualties of the trade and can happen to anyone.

Numbers have always been a problem for me. This became even more apparent when I gave the incorrect square footage of the new Temple Medical Clinic when it opened.

In the three years I’ve been here I’ve written literally a countless number of stories and made a countless number of mistakes as well.

I owe Tallapoosa Publishers for a lot of remedies to those mistakes during my time here and I also owe them for hiring me in the first place.

I came home to work during my summers in college and managed to secure a job most of those years with a PetSmart store just a short Interstate 10 drive from my house. I started as a stocker, throwing dog food on shelves and waking up early to unload trucks.

The summer I graduated from college and didn’t immediately find a job, I decided to go back to the pet store. Unfortunately for me there were no jobs open in the stocking department so I was forced to take a job in the store’s grooming salon as a dog washer.

That was a resume booster. So much so, my editor at the time I was hired here wanted to ask me to give her dog a bath.

I had worked since I was 15 years old, but had almost no journalism experience when I showed up for my interview at TPI on February 20, 2008. They hired me anyway and I started on March 12 of that year.

It’s now time for me to move.

I recently accepted a position with the Tidewater News in Franklin, Va. It is a sister newspaper to this one and I hope it becomes a good opportunity for me. My last day of work here is March 24.

I want to thank the Lake Martin area for accepting me into the community and I am pleased to have been able to call this home for three years. I will miss many of the people I have met along the way.

I will miss my coworkers, especially those in the newsroom. I wanted to say that we’re like family, but we’re more like orphans. We spend all our time together in the office a long way from our homes.

I learned my trade here and for that I will be forever thankful to the area. A portion of my heart will remain here no matter where I end up in the future.

Dale Liesch is print editor of The Dadeville Record.