This story was originally published by the Delta Digital News Service
By Chase Gage
Delta Digital News Service
JONESBORO – Frigid temperatures may be inconvenient for humans but pets have a tougher time combating the weather.
When temperatures plummet into the teens and single digits, commuters don extra layers of warm clothing such as scarves and mittens to stay warm. But pets do not have the same options.
The Humane Society changes much of its routine when temperatures get so harsh.
“It’s definitely an issue,” said Kelly Pickering, kennel manager at the NEA Humane Society. “On Jan. 31, it was 18 degrees with a windchill of 8, so we couldn’t even take out two rows of animals at a time. We would only take out about two dogs apiece, clean two kennels, get them dry and bring those two back in. They weren’t outside more than 15 minutes.”
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The goal for this piece was to shed light on local pets during a period of harsh, cold weather. The hope was to make the audience sympathize for animals, and through that sympathy, create a change in the world. Pets cannot take care of themselves, and in times of frigid temperatures, they need to be taken care of by their owners.
This piece was newsworthy because it was timely, and hopefully had some sort of impact. It will continue to be newsworthy every winter as well. If one pet is saved from injury or sickness because of this story, it was worth writing 100 times over.
I feel this is one of my better pieces because of how thoroughly I covered it. Having multiple weeks to dive into the topic definitely helped. It needed some tweaks here and there, and those minor changes helped to shape my writing style going forward. It was the first “news” story I had written in a while, so it was an opportunity to knock the rust off and polish my skills more.
For this piece, not much went wrong. The only hiccup came in an interview with the veterinary kinesiologist. The initial plan was to do the interview on a Friday, but she was out of the office that day and the interview was pushed back to “first thing Monday morning”, which was 8 a.m. The only issue was that the story was due at 10 a.m. Despite this inconvenience, the story was finished on time and turned out to be some of my better work.
The main issue with the story after submitting it was “chili spice” in my quotes. Through these “mistakes”, I learned how to pick and choose the quotes that will either pull in the audience the best, or those that are better served coming directly from the source instead of paraphrasing by the journalist.
Overall, this was one of my favorite stories to cover, and it helped set the tone for my stories going forward.