The Search for Sky Metalwala was the biggest story of the year locally, for several reasons.
I'm a father, and the circumstances surrounding the boy's disappearance stood out. They also stood out in our newsroom, which if full of mothers and fathers, who felt the same.
It's why we treated this story different. It has been a long time since I've seen so many reporters, editors, and managers, dedicate so much time to one story over an extended period of time. We all wanted to find the boy.
We spread multiple crews across the region, and checked out several tips. We had several conference calls, and reporters shared information, making sure every crew, in every time slot, was up to speed.
I spent a month covering the story almost exclusively. I spent a couple of days on a stakeout. I knocked on a lot of doors. I dug up some documents to add some previously unheard context to the story. It was a way of trying to keep Sky's face in the news, and someone, anyone, to acknowledge where he is.
Here's an example:
Unfortunately, we still don't have all the answers. And we still don't with another story involving a small child.
In August, Photographer Ryan Coe and I followed up on a tip about a strange story in Kirkland, involving a stray dog.
Paul Wu found the dog wandering through his neighborhood, and it had a note and money attached. The piece of paper held a sad tale involving a divorce, and the dog's need for a good home. It made grown men cry.
I received a strong response from viewers, who wanted to help, and know how they could help the little girl who wrote the note.
I also received several tips about who owned the dog. I believe I know the rest of the story. It is a sensitive situation, and the child may not even know the full story, so we've held back on telling it. But trust me, you'll want to pray or think good thoughts for the family who gave up the dog.
On a lighter note, I'll choose one other story that stood out in 2011.
Photographer Matt Mrozinski and I went out in March to tell the story about the Qwest Field name change to "Century Link Field". I was sick, and my voice was two octaves lower than normal. I was taking cold medicine to power through.
We put together what was a fun story. But it stood out, because at one point, I asked Matt to shoot me while I made a little rant. Off the cuff, I looked at the camera and asked a question about what we should call it?
I dubbed it "The Clink"...and started laughing at my own joke, probably loopy off the medication. Matt loved the moment so much, he slipped it into the story.
A day later, I'm at the Sounders match, and a guy comes up to me unprompted and says "The Clink!" and shook his head with a smirk.
That's when I knew it stuck. Of course, now a lot of people call the stadium by the moniker we made up that day.