The Dart allows us to tell untold stories

Published 7:44 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A couple of months ago we brought back The Dart, a story that sounds exactly like what its name implies. The Dart is a story where a reporter throws a dart at a map of Dallas County and then goes to the spot where the dart landed to find a story.

It’s a way for us to find stories that probably wouldn’t be in the newspaper otherwise, and it’s also a chance for us to get into the community and meet new people. We rotate through The Dart feature each week, which each of us in the newsroom writing one Dart story a month.

To be as transparent and honest as possible, it seems only fair to say that the newsroom wasn’t overly excited about the return of The Dart, just because it often takes a lot of time to go through the whole process and because going up to complete strangers and knocking on random doors isn’t always the most fun thing to do.

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However, every time we write one I’m reminded of how valuable The Dart stories are.

Last week, my dart landed on Temple Love Church. My first idea — obviously — was to go to the church and try to find a story there, but no one was there. Usually I drive through the neighborhood where the dart lands once or twice and try to see if someone is out and about. Not surprisingly at 1 p.m. on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, nobody was outside.

That’s when I came across a house with a school bus outside of it and decided to see if anyone was home. That’s how I met Peggy Butler, who has driven a school bus for the Dallas County School System for 25 years.

When you knock on someone’s door, you never know how they are going to react. Butler and her family couldn’t have been nicer. Once I told them why I was there, they invited me inside and let me do the interview and take photos. All of us have had similar experiences around Selma. My colleague Blake has written two Dart stories — one about a longtime barber and one about a church — and I’ve also written two. My first was about Twanya Dixon, a longtime educator who had a stroke several years ago, and has relied on her faith to get her through tough times. Her story was an inspiring one because it was a reminder to cherish every day.

These are the kinds of stories that usually wouldn’t be told in Selma. It’s not because we don’t try to find them. We definitely do. It’s just hard for us to know every person and everything that is going on.

In the next few weeks, one of us could end up throwing a dart that lands in your neck of the woods. If it does, we hope to get the chance to tell your story or the story of one of your neighbors. It’s our way of doing the best job we can, telling the story of those in Selma that may not be in the paper every day, but have plenty to tell.