Our website’s award-winning ace reporter, Scoop Tomlinson, is back. The editor sent Scoop out to work on a breaking story, and you are the only person left in the newsroom with the skill and talent needed to complete his story about a speech made this morning to the Troy Rotary Club.
You will be posting this story on the website as soon as you can write it. The editor is counting on you to do it right because she’s shorthanded. She will try to take a look at it after you post it — especially if she sees that readers are posting comments calling your facts into question. So be careful, but be fast.
Your story must be in correct AP style. Put your name and “Story 5” at the top. Format and indent paragraphs exactly as previously instructed. The length should be 150 to 200 words.
The story the editor is giving you to complete is a “brite.” Brites are short, humorous stories that often have surprise endings. You will have to write something that the reader will see as “cute” or “funny” for this assignment.
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As Scoop Tomlinson was leaving the newsroom to work on the breaking story, he told you that his notes are not in the best shape and you may find a few style, spelling and grammar errors in them. He did state that he was careful with the spellings of names and places, and he feels that there are no factual errors in his notes.
YOU ARE WRITING ON DEADLINE. THIS ASSIGNMENT MUST BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF CLASS TODAY. SUBMIT IT THROUGH BLACKBOARD AS AN ATTACHED FILE COMPATIBLE WITH MICROSOFT WORD.
SCOOP’S NOTES FROM THE SITE:
Abraham Louis Burmeister is president of Troy Citizens Bank, Troy’s largest bank. Louie, as he is known around town, frequently complains about the federal laws regulating banks. In particular, he has said he dislikes the law that requires banks to send all customers copies of complex new federal rules concerning the regulation of banks and the procedures followed for money transfers by means of electronic banking.
Louie told the Troy Rotary Club that he would like to put a brief note in the statements sent to bank customers, informing them of new federal laws making changes in the bank’s policies and inviting the customers down to the bank’s lobby or the bank’s website to review these changes.
Federal law requires all banks to send detailed pamphlets to all customers describing and summarizing the new federal laws. Because Congress rewrote major parts of the federal banking laws this year, the pamphlet grew to 20 pages at 9-point type. Troy Citizens Bank has more than 42,000 regular depositors and customers. The cost for preparing, printing and mailing this information to all the bank’s customers exceeded $39,000 this year.
In his speech at the Rotary Club this morning, Louie said that he objected to the federal law that required his bank to inform customers of changes in federal regulations.
“Informing the public should be the federal government’s role,” Louie said. “It puts a needless burden and needless expense on bankers. The federal laws that banks are being forced to explain are too complicated for an average person to understand. They are too dull and uninteresting for people to spend time trying to read.”
To make his point, Louie revealed that he had the 42,375 pamphlets printed with a special sentence approximately 4,675 words into the 9,000-word document. The sentence said, “If you are one of the first 250 people to return this pamphlet to any of Troy Citizens Bank’s tellers within the next 21 days, you will be given $100.”
Louie said that the 21 days passed Friday, and no one requested the $100 due on demand for walking into the bank with the pamphlet.
Louie then asked the Rotary members why no one asked for the $100. Members said the answer was easy: No one read the pamphlet.
Louie said the nonreaders obviously included the bank’s employees because no one mentioned the bonus in the bank, and Louie felt that if the employees had seen that line, they would have talked about it while at work (even though they were not eligible to claim the money). To make matters more interesting, Louie told the bank employees that they were REQUIRED to read the pamphlet, something that he is positive did not happen.
“I was willing to bet $25,000 of the bank’s money that no one would read the pamphlet, and I was right,” he said.
Louie concluded the meeting with this comment:
“The federal law that requires us to mail this information to customers is a disgusting waste of money. No one reads it, and that’s what my little experiment proved. We could have put this money to better use in the community.”
AFTER THE MEETING, SCOOP TALKED WITH A FEW PARTICIPANTS AND LEFT YOU THESE NOTES:
Interview with Sally Singletary, 26, of 842 George Wallace Blvd., a member of the Troy Rotary Club and Director of Public Relations at Silver Wing Aircraft in Troy.
SINGLETARY: “You could hear people gasp when Louie said he was willing to give away $25,000. I bet lots of people will read his next disclosure form mailed to the bank’s customers.”
Interview with Troy Police Officer Vernon Orville:
ORVILLE: “I’ve been counting the days on my fingers for the past hour, and it looks like we are past that 21-day limit. I guess that’s OK because I can’t find that stupid pamphlet, anyway.”
Interview with Scoop’s unemployed buddy, Slim Weaver, 49, of 842 Gadsden Road in Troy:
WEAVER: “Dang! If those wimps at the bank place would put me in charge of the dang pamphlets, this dang ‘No one got a hundred bucks’ stuff would not happen. I’d know how to run it. I bet I’m the smartest dang guy in Troy! Hey, I need another beer — I think it is your turn to buy, Scoop.”
Interview with Glenda Kester, 22, a Troy University senior from Winter Park, Florida, majoring in elementary education:
KESTER: “Honey, I can use $100. I have to pay tuition. I wish I had some money to put in that bank so that I could have redeemed that golden ticket for the cash.”
Interview with Buddy Fohee, Troy fireman and paramedic:
FOHEE: “I couldn’t believe it. All I could think of during the club meeting was that I threw away a fast $100.”