My last post explored the Celebrations and Obituaries pages of the News & Observer. I neglected to mention my favorite Sports section page—the Thursday-only Triangle Outdoors feature. This is probably the best part of the whole paper. I eagerly anticipate Thursday mornings so I can rip the plastic bag off the newspaper and flip to the Triangle Outdoors “Reader Gallery” picture.
The reader gallery is a send-in-your-picture feature similar to those “Wild Weather” segments on TV news where people send in photographs of hail the size of softballs or tornadoes touching down in their backyards. Thursday’s Triangle Outdoors Reader Gallery pictures are SO much better. Triangle Outdoors, if you didn’t guess, is the outdoor sports news section that covers hunting and fishing. The Reader Gallery, logically, consists of pictures of people with last weekend’s big catch (or kill). Sure, great, you caught a 16-pound catfish. Cool. No. That’s not what I’m excited about.
The BEST Reader Gallery photos are the ones of kids who bag something good. Sometimes the photo features a sweet 7-year-old girl gripping the necks of a few recently-deceased ducks. Every few weeks, a chubby 4-year-old proudly displays a tiny (or not-so-tiny) fish. On occasion, there’ll be a shot (pun!) of a camouflage-clad 9-year-old boy with his first deer. The grinning child usually has his prize propped up, eyes white-red from the glare of the camera (the deer’s eyes, not the kid’s). Sometimes the animal is posed—turkey tails are fanned, grouse feathers are fluffed. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.
Last week, Triangle Outdoors featured an article about an 883-pound marlin caught in a Memorial Day fishing tournament. The fisherman who reeled it in won the tournament prize, a cool $1.2 million. Triangle Outdoors day means Thursday means Reader Gallery. One could assume that the Reader Gallery photo would have been of the 883-pound marlin, strung up on a dock somewhere, but you know what happens when you assume. Nope, the Reader Gallery photo last week was a picture of some guy with a 4-pound striped bass or some other dumb little fish. Come on, N&O! Don’t run a story about a gigantic shark-dolphin-fish and then fail to provide a picture of the monster!
Luckily for me, the N&O came through with the picture yesterday when the story broke on the front page (no more Triangle Outdoors for Mr. Marlin!) that the fishermen would have to forfeit all of their winnings because they had failed to obtain a $10 fishing license. Oops. The picture of the gigantic fish graced the front page of the N&O again today (above the fold this time) with the caption: “The fish may be big, but now it’s worthless.” Bummer.
In addition to this fantastic, Melville-esque saga that is playing out across the pages of the News & Observer, I was delighted to see another wonderful article on the N&O’s Twitter account yesterday immediately after I posted a link to the blog posting about the Celebrations section and the Obituaries section. Yet again, the N&O provides excellent news coverage by publishing a story entitled, “Wake County man hit by lightning – then mauled by a bear”. I can’t even make this stuff up.