Cub Reporter Learns A Lesson p. 9

By: DEBRA GERSH HERNANDEZ IKE MOST CUB reporters, Albert Gore was considerably more credulous than his more seasoned colleagues at the Nashville Tennessean.
Working one night on the obit desk, Gore, who now is vice president of the United States, got a call about the death of a prominent local doctor named Trebla Erog.
"I don't know if you all have traditions like the Tennessean used to ? and I guess still does ? but young reporters, who thought they knew it all, and I certainly fit into that category, were initiated with certain lessons," Gore told a luncheon audience during the American Society of Newspaper Editors conference in Washington.
"One lesson that a reporter has to learn early on is you really cannot believe everything that you hear over the telephone," he said.
"Late one night, while I was doing obituaries, the phone rang and it was an obituary for Trebla Erog, a Swedish gynecologist from Carthage, Tenn., my hometown," Gore said, telling the uproarious audience, "Well, I don't know all the doctors in my hometown.
"He was a member of the B'nai B'rith and the Knights of Columbus ? well, you know, he was a joiner," Gore said, laughing along with the crowd.
"And there were various other interesting features of his life,which I dutifully and accurately took down and turned into a pretty well-written obituary.
And I turned it in.
"There still wasn't much fanfare," Gore noted, until about a half an hour later, when the same voice called back with more shocking news.
"Tragically ? and interestingly ? the doctor's wife had, upon seeing the corpse, died in the funeral home," he said.
"Rather than preparing a dry obituary of Mrs. Erog, I smelled a larger news story that could have been . . . my first front-page report," Gore continued.
"Later that evening, news of the tragedy which befell the two Erog children, as they were racing across the bridge into Carthage, arrived at the newspaper and it confirmed my initial instinct that this was a big story," the vice president said laughing so hard at this point he had to catch his breath with an "Oh, me."
And the lesson learned?
"Ever since then, I have believed very little I've heard over the telephone," Gore said, adding that, "Anyway, it was a wonderful education. And I'm telling you, it was something."
And just in case you haven't realized what the vice president and ASNE audience were laughing so heartily about, Trebla Erog is Albert Gore spelled backward.
?(Vice President Gore) [Photo]


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