Friday, October 20, 2006

Acorn Crop Coverage

Last week I began work on an article on the abundance of acorns this year. It is all the buzz of our local neighborhood list servs and I thought it was a fun topic. Wanting to go beyond just observing the phenomenon and explaining why this year had such a bumper crop, I put out a call to the NativePlantsEast discussion list serv asking if any one of the native plant groups collected acorns or needed them for projects. I recalled doing an acorn collecting few years ago and donating them for a Maryland reforestation service. I wrote the article and turned it on Tuesday for publication today in the Washington Examiner. You can read it here (Select the 10/20 print edition then scroll to page 64 online or pick up the print edition and turn to the Real Estate section's page 8). For the Real Estate/Home&Garden stories they work on a much earlier deadline than the rest of their paper.

I was a little perturbed to say the least when the next day a short article on the acorn bumper crop was in John Kelly's Metro section column. Then I was even more annoyed to see on the front page of Thursday's WashPost Home section another acorn story. I guess the two sections don't communicate.

Now this is about the 15th time in the past year that story topics that I've announced I'm working have coincidentally shown up in the WashPost. Yes, it is a small gardening world in Wash DC. And yes, some gardening topics are just timely and of course will be covered at roughly the same seasonal timing. But it is starting to wear on my nerves and make me suspicious. So do I keep our editorial calendar a deep-dark secret? Do I stop asking for quotes and inputs in public forums? I really don't see how we could operate without constantly reaching out to our readers. Unlike other institutional publications, we are built around reader input and I'd like to keep it that way.

I'm happy to say that neither of the WashPost stories addressed the "what to do with the acorns" questions -- other than the Home section describing how to plant an acorn. The squirrels take care of that for me, thanks. ;-) If anyone wants some oak saplings next spring, just drop me a line. I gave away over 60 this past year and I'm sure I'll have many more in 2007.

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