An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

By John Pierce

Most of us like for others to think our jobs are harder than they are. So I’m hesitant to tell the truth when people ask, “Where do you get all of those story ideas?”

But tales of crystal balls, mob connections and having an ear to ground don’t often fly — and, supposedly, confession is good for the soul.

So the answer is that often I benefit from good “bird dogs” scattered about.

In addition to the literal meaning — and some unflattering pejorative meanings to “bird-dogging” — there is one used by journalists. A “bird dog” in news jargon is someone who “points” you toward a good story. (Sales people have a similar use for the term.)

At least for me, these are not formal roles. I’m just grateful for the many times that someone suggests a story idea that’s caught his or her attention — and ends up on the printed page.

So two words to the bird dogs and bird-dogs-to-be out there: Thanks — and keep them coming.

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