In journalism, you never know whom you are going to affect.
My photo editor recently contacted me and said, “Hey, we got a breaking story of a kid who was sent to the principal’s office for starting up an NCAA Tournament bracket at five bucks a pop.”
Intrigued, I immediately headed over to west Omaha and arrived at the Kohll residence.
Within the confines of the gated community, on an unseasonably warm winter day, young Max greeted me at the entrance.
The fifth-grader was shy, hanging out with two friends and probably thinking, “Gosh, this is so embarrassing. Why did my mom call the newspaper?”
I talked to him and his cohorts for a while, and I could tell Max had no idea how far his actions would ripple.
Some would laugh at this situation. Others would condemn Max. I can see both sides, and I’m just glad it didn’t get out of hand on either end of the spectrum. He only received a talking to by the equivalent of “the man” in a kid’s perspective, his principal.
However, something happened that I didn’t expect. Two words: Jimmy. Kimmel.
Yes, THAT Jimmy Kimmel.
Apparently, Kimmel thought the situation was funny enough and had the timely relevance to March Madness to have a nationally televised Skype session with Max. I finally peeked at the video, and there was that same what-did-I-get-myself-into kind of expression. Max was a little shy but willing to tell the truth about his ordeal.
If not already from his fifth-grade swagger, Max may be the most popular kid in school at the moment, possibly for the year. I hope this helped his chances at getting that girl he’s been eyeing for some time during recess. While these sentiments are tongue-in-cheek, this experience proves that you never know what journalism will do for one person or a community.
Read more about Max and his bracket in Matthew Hansen’s story from March 14.