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Covering the FACTS

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By Kate Darnell

When I think about gossip, I think about high school.

It was always amazing to me how you could say something in the parking lot of HCHS, and whatever you said could somehow beat you into the school.

Words travel faster than humans.

But gossip isn’t only found in high school hallways, bathrooms, cafeterias and classrooms.

People often ask me how I come to know about the stories I write.

“Somebody tells me,” I always reply back.

And that’s the truth. Here at the Democrat, we hardly ever go out searching for front-page news.

It always seems to find us. And people always seem to tell us.

Over the past few weeks, our newsroom has become inundated with visits and phone calls from Harrison County residents - all sharing their gossip.

“Did you hear about the wild animal in Connersville?” they would say.

“Somebody told me it’s a liger,” another one would add.

“I heard somebody was keeping it and they’ve now let it loose,” I also heard.

We received numerous e-mails and photographs of the “Connersville Cat.”

At first, we were hesitant to write about the wild animal suspicions. As a newspaper, we don’t report on rumors.

But as the weeks progressed and law enforcement officials got involved and more facts were obtained, we realized there were facts about the case that needed to be presented to the public.

Harrison County residents needed to know whether the rumors were true and how the Sheriff’s Department was responding to the concerns and investigating the issue.

As I was gathering the facts from Detective Paul Olin, I continued to hear gossip - much of what went against the truth Paul delivered to me.

And the gossip was spreading like wild fire.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I, too, am a gossip lover and (I hate to admit it) spreader. I read the National Enquirer headlines at the grocery store. I care when Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush split or reunite.

If I didn’t always want to know what was going on, I wouldn’t have become a reporter.

As reported in last week’s paper, there is no evidence that indicates there is a large cat in the Connersville area. That’s not to say there isn’t a large cat or there won’t ever be a large cat in Harrison County. That’s just saying there’s no evidence of a large cat... as of yet.

That’s what I like to see and hear. The facts.

But if there’s one thing this “Connersville Cat” has taught me, it’s the power of what we say and share with others.

You can’t always believe what you hear.