Friday, March 08, 2013

Scallop swapping?

Mario Moretto, Hancock County reporter
Well, the pressure for me to top the Rangeley Robot Monster story from the other week has been intense. I mean, how does a person top a two-week run which includes dowsers looking for Bigfoot and monster robot attacks?! Luckily for me, the Colbert Report did a fantastically funny segment about an incident on Mount Desert Island. I then found out that the story had originally been reported on by Mario Moretto of the Bangor Daily News.

Enjoy the video, and read on for more!

The news story was originally run in the Bangor Daily News on November 27th when reporter Mario Moretto encountered a post on the Ellsworth Police Department's Facebook page inquiring community-wide about the lost scallop pieces. He posted on Twitter about it, thinking to himself, "Isn't this weird?"

Seeing the post, his editor Rick Levasseur told Moretto he should run with it, and do a full story for the paper. Apparently Moretto and Levasseur have the nose for news, because sure enough Moretto's story got picked up by other Maine outlets and the AP wire. It can now be found reprinted in all sorts of "weird news" columns and news blogs, and everywhere the Colbert Show segment is mentioned. But, as Moretto observes, "It's sort of an occupational hazard in today's media landscape that if a story you wrote goes viral, very little attention is paid to the byline. Everyone knows the story, but not many people pay attention to who reported it."

Read Mario Moretto's original article here:
Southwest Harbor man seeking missing scallop guts after putting them in wrong car

A follow-up article, again by Moretto, appeared in the Bangor Daily News on November 28th with the headline "UM teacher: 'It was me. I have the scallop guts.'" Mario is no stranger to oddball stories. "The thing that makes 'Scallop Guts' such a great story, though, is the happy ending," he said. Darn right.

To read more of Moretto's Hancock County articles, click here:

When I asked Moretto if he had come across other strange Maine news items during his tenure, he admitted there are plenty of "out there" stories, but the scallop guts story seemed to be the best so far. In the past, among other things, he has reported about a woman who snapped photographs of bones she found on a town pier. The woman sent the photos to the state medical examiner's office. "She was convinced they were human, but the Medical Examiner identified them as chicken. A representative from that office told me it happened all the time."

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