Using a York County convenience store as my “office” and my first big #ideaLab lesson

I’m a firm believer that when you tell someone you’re going to do something — YOU DO IT.

That’s why this last ideaLab mobile reporting day was a bump in the road.

But it’s OK.

This project is about learning. And you aren’t challenging yourself when everything’s just spiffy.

So, here’s what happened…

Last week, I reached out to Rutter’s, a local convenience store chain with more than 55 stores in the region.

I wanted to host meet-ups at some of the locations in the southern part of the county, an area that receives less media attention than, say, York city.

The concept of loitering around a gas station piqued my interest.

I salivated, dreaming about all the oddball characters I might meet.

Earlier in the week, I ran this promo in the paper and online:




On Thursday, I jaunted to Jacobus.

Inside the store, I grabbed some hazelnut creme coffee and sat down at a table with my iPad.

Surprisingly, there was quite a crowd of older gentlemen, some of whom had seem the promotion.

One asked me about this pre-ideaLab attempt at mobile reporting.

Another man strutted into the store with the infamous stack of folders. Any reporter knows what I mean.

Nothing says, “I’ve got a story for you,” like a stack of papers, legal documents, and what have you.

Before I could hear much of his story idea, I got an email from my editor.

I had to head back to the office for a breaking news situation. There wasn’t an option.

I was crushed. Abruptly, I told the man, in much softer terms, “Yo, I have to go.”

I got his phone number and said I’d call him back.

As the day went on, I got calls from other people wondering why I wasn’t where I said I was going to be.

This made me feel worse.

How can these meet-ups accrue accountability if I’m bailing haphazardly?

So, I think, I’m going to re-word my promotion. I’m going to let people know that, as a reporter, things can happen.

When things happen, they can call my cell phone to schedule another appointment.

As for Rutter’s, I’m going back for Round 2 next week, I think.

They have a fabulous marketing director who is willing to let me be a fly on the wall.

(And their coffee is my fave. For reals.)


2 responses to “Using a York County convenience store as my “office” and my first big #ideaLab lesson

  1. Glad I didn’t go!!! But do understand “why” you had to go….you young ROCKER!!! :-)) Your boss has to understand that when YOU kinda promise to show up…these old guys DO expect you to follow thru. Hope “the BOSS” understands this tip.

  2. Pingback: Get gas, stay a while: I take my mobile journalism skills to a York County convenience store | BY LAUREN BOYER

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