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Welcome to the random information line

July 31, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER , Times-Republican

Well, it happened again.

Some guy called wanting me to tell him what the Colorado shooter's middle name was. He figured since I worked at the newspaper I could give that to him. I proceeded to tell him that I wasn't covering that tragedy for the paper, but he persisted. So I did a quick Internet search to find out the answer for him.

You might think this call was odd, but in my five years here it's not even close to the strangest request I've gotten, as people think I run some sort of information phone line here. That strangest request is coming later.

Once, I had a couple call and ask if the captain of a boat should be the last one off a sinking ship all the time. You see they were really intensely watching an episode with those seafarers on "The Deadliest Catch" and must have had a debate. They then thought, "Let's call the newspaper and straighten this out." As always I try to direct them to the Internet, but their response was something like "We ain't got one of dem computers."

Eventually, I said I didn't know and was able to end the conversation. It turns out it is not a law but a longtime tradition that the captain is the last one off a sinking ship.

It seems every few weeks we get calls asking what channel a certain program is on that day. Well, there are TV guides that run in our a Sunday paper, but that involves too much reading for some. I guess many would rather just call a reporter.

So you've been waiting for my strangest request in the past few years? Well, here it goes.

One lady called a couple of years ago call said she was going to miss a national radio program that afternoon and wanted me to tape it for her.

Umm, I first told her this was a newspaper, but that didn't seem to matter. She seemed intent that it was my job to field requests from people in the community to tape radio shows for them.

It seemed pretty natural for her that someone from the paper should honor this request. She got a little upset but then the head-scratcher of a conversation ended and I did not fulfill her request.

We work pretty hard here at the paper, but there's some things we can't do, such as be a 24-hour information line. I guess these calls do make the day a little more interesting, but I could definitely do without them.


Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or



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