I call it “being curious.” Some call it “being snoopy.” But I’ve always been interested in what’s on everyone’s mind. After all, that’s what people in my business are supposed to do: find out what people want to know about and give them as much information as you possibly can.
Sometimes, it’s easy. You can start with weather. Especially in Oklahoma, the weather plays a big part in most everything, from business to pleasure, from life to death. Weather is a factor.
You always can talk politics. This is an election year and, no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape hearing or seeing someone voice an opinion on who is and who is not doing the right thing, who will or who will not win in the November general election, who ought to stay, who ought to go.
One of the most significant freedoms we have it the right to state our opinion, and the right to agree or disagree, whether you do or don’t want to hear it.
Now that the Thunder’s season has ended, there’s a break. Right? To a degree. There are still the Thunder players participating in the Olympics, which, by the way, is another topic that will be even bigger soon.
We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the new football season. The predictions and expectations already are there.
Money always is an important topic, from how to make it to how to spend it, or how to save it. Add to that the cost of anything, which always seems to being heading upward. Who has money, who needs money and how to help those who don’t have enough to adequately survive also get attention.
Vehicles have been popular topics since the first ones were invented. You can expect that to continue until we don’t use them anymore.
Health matters — yours or those of someone else, how to avoid them and how to treat them — are important and often discussed.
Items relating to the military, particularly in a state like Oklahoma where it has such a presence, affect many people.
You also will read, see, or hear about such topics as children, pets, religion, travel, recreation and cultural events.
Plenty, huh? And there are many more.
Each of the topics mentioned above is in at least one of our “know it” topics. It may be a story, it could be a photo, or it might be in a topic’s resource material. Then again, it might be in more than one, sometimes several.
That’s why they are there: To give you information. And you can contribute as well by sending news releases, notes of praise, or other tidbits to the online communities.
Visit HTTP://KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/ and look them over.
Noticing the other day that the one Thunder t-shirt stand in Midwest City has blossomed into three stands overnight. Impressive growth!
I guess if there is ever a time to sell Thunder merchandise on the street corner, now is the time. I haven’t stopped to look at the t-shirts yet, but I will say the ones that I can read from my car are pretty clever and colorful.
Someone told me that some of these stands are operating illegally due to NBA merchandising laws, but I say more power to them. Making people proud of their community team by selling a few t-shirts, nothing wrong with that.
I hope the Thunder continue to win and bring home a World Championship, that would be incredible. It’s amazing the power of a sports team to bring together a community. I wish that we could bottle that and use it year round, maybe do something crazy like eliminate homelessness or help cure poverty or crime.
I wonder how much money is being made by local stores and outlets on Thunder merchandise, I bet it is astronomical. I hope at least a small part of the proceeds are being put back into the community.
You know, do some good.
“Have I got news for you.”
Ever heard that phrase? Most of us either have said that, heard it, or done both during our lives. There’s always something we think is important enough to share with others and they with us.
A few years ago, when we established our “know it” communities we offered readers a chance to share news releases, alerts, recognitions and other information (including photos) by sending their items by email to any or all of the five sites:
Many groups and individuals have participated. You can see what they are sending by going to the reader-submitted area (upper right) of each community:
(Note: You can see all of them by going to: http://knowit.newsok.com/)
The instructions also advise that editors at The Oklahoman will consider items submitted for publication in the newspaper. That has happened.
But now, that has been enhanced by using a page, labeled News From You, each Saturday in the Local/State section of the newspaper.
We even include posted blog material.
So how can you get your information to us for consideration?
You can send to the communities, as mentioned above, by following the directions for emailing.
Or, you can send email to Metro reporters Vallery Brown (email@example.com), Matt Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jane Glenn Cannon in Norman (email@example.com), or Diana Baldwin in Edmond (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s your news to share and be shared.
More accolades, more pride, more excitement, more good feelings.
Oklahoma sports connections have brought more POSITIVE attention to our state and we should be very appreciative.
Last night’s NBA All-Star game showed how Oklahoma City and the state in general have excelled.
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder proved beyond question that he is among the best in the game. Named the most valuable player in the pro basketball classic, Durant led his West team to victory.
His Oklahoma City teammate, Russell Westbrook, also dazzled the crowd and the millions who watched the game on television, displaying the skills that have elevated him to the star level.
And Blake Griffin, who grew up in Oklahoma City, became a college star at the University of Oklahoma, then made the transition to bigtime standout with the Los Angeles Clippers, added his outstanding play to the West team.
These accomplishments are documented in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/KEVIN-DURANT and KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/BLAKE-GRIFFIN. They follow other recent major achievements by Oklahomans.
The Oklahoma State University Cowboys, for the first time in their football history, finished second in the nation in the final polls after winning the Big 12 championship and defeating Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden, of Edmond, was a standout at Santa Fe High School and talented in baseball as well. But his college career in football may pay off far more than his professional baseball career did. You can follow his entry into pro football at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/BRANDON-WEEDEN
And then there is Wes Welker, the all-pro receiver for the New England Patriots and another Oklahoma City native. After a successful career at Heritage Hall High School and Texas Tech University, Welker has proven you don’t have to be the biggest player on the field to be one of the best. He and his Patriots made it to the Super Bowl and were so close to winning it all.
All of these athletes are winners and give Oklahoma reason to be proud.
I’d like to say that in almost 40 years in this business, I’ve heard it all. But I can’t. They just keep coming.
I’ve quoted many times longtime columnist and former Managing Editor Frank Boggs, who said, “The readers always write.” To me, it’s the journalist’s version of “The customer’s always right.” You’re gonna hear from them.
It may not be a column or an editorial they disgreed with. But it doesn’t have to be a commentary on a story or photo they saw in the newspaper or on line. It might be something they saw or heard somewhere and just wanted to make a comment on it.
It can be entertaining, to say the least.
Here are some samples:
* * * * *
“Do we still have people on the moon? I saw a show about all that stuff we left up there and I wondered if the United States still had someone up there watching over it.”
I answered him best I could that I didn’t know of anyone still on the moon, and that the “stuff” we left up there from previous space missions was mostly discarded material no longer used or working.
* * * * *
There have been a few space-related “contacts.” Mostly, late-night phone calls involving unidentified flying objects.
“Has anyone else reported seeing that round thing with the blinking lights flying over the water plant last night?”
“It was big. It just kinda sat up there a while. I just wondered if anyone else saw it.”
He hung up right after saying he would call the local Air Force base and ask if it “showed up on their radar.”
Oh, well. The Air Force knows full well how to handle calls about UFOs, blinking lights and aliens.
* * * * *
“Can you get a ticket for driving a riding lawn mower when you’re drunk?”
If you’re driving it on a public street, it’s possible. The offense? It depends upon where and how you were driving.
* * * * *
“My sister and I were wondering … how do you make mud?”
Well, you get the necessary ingredients, such as dirt and water, and mix them together.
You can shape the mix and use it for building, but you need to do so before it hardens.
* * * * *
“Can you drown by drinking from a garden hose?”
Yes. It doesn’t take a lot of water to cause a drowning. A couple of inches can do it.
Please don’t try that at home.
* * * * *
And there’s always someone who wants to talk politics. So you get a call like this.
“Who’s going to be the next president?”
Simple. The one who gets the most votes … from the electoral college.
* * * * *
There are some unusual people out there, thinking unusual thoughts. See examples in http://knowit.newsok.com/unsual-weird-oklahoma and checkign the state, nation and world categories.
There’s more to our “know it” communities than news about Edmond, Midwest City, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon, and there’s an open invitation to you to become part of it.
Each of these communities has other cities and towns nearby. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish where one ends and another begins, and.or there is overlap. We set up the online communities to include them.
“Why didn’t you just use north, south, east and west?” a reader once asked me.
We needed a focal point, a center for each coverage area. Problem was, we still had some equally (or nearly as) large cities close enough in some areas that it almost required a double-emphasis name. For instance, Edmond and Guthrie; Midwest City and Del City; Norman and Moore; or Yukon and Mustang.
There also are those who believe that Bricktown is almost a city within itself … and within Oklahoma City.
So why didn’t we put together separate “know it” communities for each of them? For now, it’s more manageable, more functional to do it this way. Will that change in the future? We’ll see. Just about anything is possible.
We do have a “play position,” or key story on the page for each community. That allows us to emphasize a story from any of the cities and towns in that area. You might have a big event occurring in Guthrie or Piedmont in the lead position in “know it: Edmond.” Or, it might be a critical city council meeting in Moore that leads “know it: Norman.” The top story for “know it: Yukon” might be something big in Mustang.
You see how it works.
But there’s more. You can contribute to the coverage for your area.
If you’re looking for a way to get the news out about an upcoming event, deliver a word of praise, or perhaps an update or follow-up is needed to those in your community. Here’s a possibility for you. Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Need some help getting the word out about your upcoming event? Maybe you want to say “thanks” to an individual or group. Or, it could be that you need to send an update or reminder about a community happening.
Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Readers can use Twitter feeds to get their messages out in the five “know it” online communities — Edmond, Mid-Del, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon. These include the surrounding area for each city.
Each community has a specific hashtag, similar to other web tags, that helps add personal messages, or “tweets,” to a category. Hashtags have the “hash” or “pound” sign preceding them.
The specific hashtags for the “know it” communities are:
- Edmond area — #knowedmond
- Mid-Del area — #knowmwc
- Norman area — #knownorman
- Oklahoma City area — #knowokc
- Yukon area — #knowyukon
The tags also can be added to other hash tags, such as #NewsOK or #okpreps.
Each “know it” community features a special area titled “NEWS SUBMITTED BY YOU,” where information such as news releases can be added.
To use that area, the reader creates an e-mail with a document or photo attached, then sends it to the address for the particular community:
Here are some tips for using this feature:
- Add the e-mail address to your list of those who normally receive your news. (The other e-mail addresses will not appear online.)
- Send your information and/or photos as a SINGLE ATTACHMENT to your e-mail. (PLEASE NOTE: Text from the e-mail will not appear online. An attachment may be a WORD document [.doc], a text file [.txt], a portable document [.pdf], or a jpeg picture [.jpg].)
- The subject line will be your headline, so be specific about what is most important that you want to emphasize. Example: Cross Timbers Elementary plans open house on Tuesday.
- Avoid punctuation and ALL CAPS in your subject line, but do capitalize the first letter of the first word and all formal titles.
- Remember to tell others about this service!
All sites can be accessed by going to http://knowit.newsok.com.
Editors and reporters consider information submitted for possible use in other sections.
Each community link is a “window” into that city and area, its offerings, its people. These are living, growing communities online, just as they are in real life. We continuously look for new information to add to them, in addition to the items that flow there from The Oklahoman reports.
The design is such that readers can glean a wealth of information about their community, quickly and efficiently, by simply clicking on the topic, ranging from stories to facts and figures on people, services and locations.
It’s all here for you.
They’re boosting my appreciation for professional athletes.
I’ve heard that it’s in the contract of each NBA player and coach that he must do community-oriented things, such as promotions and charity work, in the city where he plays.
Well, it may be a “have to” situation, but it sure seems Oklahoma City Thunder team members are contributing time and effort happily.
I’ve seen numerous video and photo images of these guys working on local projects, such as repairing or building homes, visiting disabled individuals, working with underprivileged children, or taking part in activities in areas of our metro area where celebrities are rarely seen.
I would much rather see these images rather than some high-paid superstar who has gotten in hot water for stealing jewelry at a shopping mall, beaten up someone, or become mixed up in drugs.
Sure, these things happen to all segments of society. But the negative images have an effect on those who idolize celebrities, particularly, it seems these days, on athletes.
These who do help out in their communities, who contribute time and effort, who care about those who support them are viewed as heroes as much as they are on the court.
If you want a good recent example, see the story on Serge Ibaka in “know it: Charity.” Here’s a man who has scored big with children, teachers and his community.
For that, we should say, “Thank you.”
Crazy for its Oklahoma City Thunder, that is.
And if for some reason you’ve been out of town — say, on another planet — and haven’t seen or heard about it, there’s a real love between the city and the team. That can make for a very successful marriage.
Oklahoma City went wild for this team before it even knew for sure it would be here. The city was hoping that the support it showed for the hurricane-displaced New Orleans Hornets would translate to a permanent home for a team. There was some disappointment when the Hornets eventually returned to New Orleans, but there was a feeling that the effort to get a team here would be successful.
Even before the negotiations between Clay Bennett and the Seattle SuperSonics ownership got serious, Oklahoma City knew it was a good fit.
Even before the sale, before the NBA approved the move, before the team had a name, it was forming a relationship.
In fact, if you will remember, fans got in on the naming. They welcomed this team with open arms — and pocketbooks, buying up seats and other team-related items.
They filled those seats as a young team stepped onto the court for the first time and continued to do so as the Thunder gained maturity and began its drive to the upper level of the league.
In a short time, the Thunder has made a mark in this prestigious professional league. Let’s hope that will continue for many years to come.
The city has shown it can, does and will support bigtime sports. See for yourself what it means to those in the Thunder organization to have that kind of support. Go to http://knowit.newsok/kevin-durant and read, watch and hear what the players say.
This is the kind of crazy that can benefit all of us.
Another former University of Oklahoma star athlete has a place in our “know it” lineup: Blake Griffin.
The former OU basketball standout is a rising star with the Los Angeles Clippers. You can find information on Griffin and his team by going to “know it: Blake Griffin.”
Griffin joins former Heisman Trophy winner and OU quarterback Sam Bradford (“know it: Sam Bradford”), now with the St. Louis Rams in the NFL, on the topics list. Also featured, of course, is former Texas Longhorn and current Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant (“know it: Kevin Durant.”).
In addition to Griffin’s information, there have been several other topics getting attention recently.
Check out Bryan Painter’s package on surviving Oklahoma’s violent storms in “know it: Severe weather.”
Get the latest on people, events and services in our five “know it” communities — Edmond, Midwest City, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon, and their surrounding areas.
Find out what is being done and by whom in helping those less fortunate in “know it: Charity” and “know it: Homeless.”
There are new recommendations on how to eat better and exercise in “know it: Fitness & nutrition.”
Learn about a new local golf program in “know it: Golf.”
There are other additions to “know it: Military,” “know it: Buying a car,” “know it: Careers” and “know it: Money.”
These are just some of the areas that have significant additions from the past few days. In all, there are 34 topics to choose from and all have stories, photos, videos and links to useful resources.