Finally, finally, finally I got my article about the ground source heat pumps in today's paper. I got the idea already back in Sweden when I was talking with an American friend about how people heat their homes in Sweden.
In Sweden, this kind of heating is getting more and more common. My friend had no idea what I was talking about. Neither did most of my colleagues at the Chronicle and that's when I decided to write the story.
As for most stories, the more concrete it can be, the better. That's why I desperately tried to get hold of people in California who had installed ground source heat pumps in their houses. I called many different contractors and after weeks I finally got a name to a family in Livermore west of San Francisco.
I went out there, did the interview and when we were finished the man said "You know, my wife just reminded me that some years ago we had some reporters from the Chronicle here who wrote about or heat pumps." Sure enough, on July 14 2001 there was a long article about the Johnson's house in Livermore.
I talked to my editor Ken Howe and he said we could still use the Johnson's, but not as a lead, I had to find someone else. Of course I should have checked our digital archives better, but the term they used in the 2001 article was "geo exchange", not "geothermal" or "ground source heating".
I had to contact another family in Healdsburg north of Santa Rosa.Went there last week, did the interview and could finally publish the articles. Learnings for an injo reporter? Well, always try to find a concrete case. The story will gain a lot from that. An, of course, always check your archives thoroughly before making appointments…