Blog Post

What, exactly, is a Weird News Reporter?

Here’s a question I get asked a lot: What, exactly, is a Weird News Reporter? By which I mean, no one really asks but I’m going to tell you anyway.

Here’s the explanation, excerpted from my book “Not Quite Right: Mostly True Tales of a Weird News Reporter.” Holler if you have questions.

As the unofficial Weird News Reporter for Alabama, I got to develop my own job description. Technically, a weird news writer would be someone whose beat covers odd topics such as (yes, these are real subjects I’ve written about):

  • A pastor who preaches while nekkid to his nude congregants (I asked the hard questions about sweaty pews and awkward noises);
  • A haunted house people can tour nekkid (where one has to wonder about groping hands in the dark amid all those dangly bits);
  • The woman who attached her infant to the train of her wedding gown and dragged the baby down the aisle as part of the wedding party (a heartwarming tale of love and parental negligence).

And then there are stories about trends like:

  • Chest-hair art and why it traumatizes small children and future wives;
  • Burger King’s black Whopper buns and why they turn your poop green;
  • Uterus-shaped cookies and why they should be banned from baby showers.

In my case, “weird news” came to include the quirky history and wacky roadside attractions that I write about for or on my blog Then, somehow, the job morphed into something more – I became, like, the Long Island Medium for people who need help with weirdness. I’m the one people call when they:

  • Want to visit an abandoned, haunted insane asylum;
  • See Bigfoot and wonder how to catch him;
  • Spot a UFO and need to alert the government;
  • Have ghosts in their homes who overstayed their welcome;
  • Are possessed by demons and want them evicted.

It just happens.

And because of this, I’ve had some strange propositions. A radio host from Liverpool (all the way over in England, y’all) interviewed me for his podcast. Back when Nancy Grace had her show, she interviewed me about a real news case and later emailed me to let me know she read my column and agreed completely that seedless watermelons are an abomination to God. A producer for a company that creates shows for The Learning Channel interviewed me to see if my life might make a good reality show (it didn’t). A rapper selling his CD in a gas-station parking lot who made “mmm-hmmm” noises at me and said, “I like ’em thick.” He was referring to my waistline. I think. Maybe my intelligence. It’s a toss-up. But anyway, interesting propositions like that. Life is certainly never dull.

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