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Best of the Day: Local Santa Claus by the numbers (12/23/11)
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Dec. 23, 2011 12:01 a.m.

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The Orion Gazette and a few other weeklies in central Illinois had some fun with a Santa By the Numbers that ran this week. Find out how they got the scoop on the Jolly Old Elf.

WHAT THEY DID: Orion Gazette Editor Mindy Carls interviewed Santa Claus to find out exactly how he does his job on Christmas Eve. "Since we reporters never make anything up, I interviewed an Orion man who has portrayed Santa in the local grade school for more than 20 years," Carls said. "He is also a friend of mine, and I knew he would be funny, and thoughtful, too." For example, find out how long it actually takes Santa to deliver presents, the weight of Santa's sleigh, and how long Santa spends at each house. The alternative story format ran in the papers this week and online this morning.

TAKEAWAY: This is a great opportunity for an alternative story format, and I thought it was fun that Mindy chose to emphasize the "numbers" aspect of Santa's job. Look for ways to incorporate ASFs in your newspaper, whether it's a Q&A, By the Numbers, Quick Update (What happened, background, what's next), Meeting Minutes, etc.


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