"A city is not a city without an Olive Garden"Ha. The illustrious Columbia Journalism Review, stuck in the no-fucking-news months with the rest of us, tracked down John Quinlan, the Sioux City Journal reporter who wrote the most Onion-like real news story of all time, which will forever stand as our single favorite work of journalism. ("Olive Garden arrives" in Sioux City. That guy!). And he's very even-keeled about his newfound internet fame. "I wanted to have a little fun with the story," he says...
They'd been wanting an Olive Garden for years. They've done surveys over the years-what restaurants would you like to see in Sioux City? For twenty years, the Olive Garden was at the top of the list. I didn't have a beat. I was on the copy desk for fifteen years and was just getting back into writing. I had been doing some faith-based and medical stories. The business editor had some kind of problem that day, so I filled in and did the story. It was a boring story, but people were expecting something kind of big, because to them it was a big event. I wanted to have a little fun with the story.
Sioux City residents were "camping outside for two months" when the Olive Garden opened. Let it be noted that John Quinlan is a good-humored man who is, in fact, a real journalist who has written real stories for many years. I salute you, sir. With breadsticks. [CJR]