by RODNEY MARGISON
Laura Lane has been a Bloomington storyteller since November 1984. That’s when she began working at The Herald-Telephone (now The Herald-Times), where she has written police, government, and human-interest stories.
“I sort of see myself as this person who can reflect the reality of what’s going on,” she says, “who can delve into who people are, to find out what motivates people, what drives them, and why and where they come from.”
An Indianapolis native, Lane developed her passion for storytelling by reading The Indianapolis Star. “We always got the newspaper in my house,” she says, “and I read everything except sports. I read the obituaries and I started finding out about people’s lives.”
Her passion for reading became a passion for writing that earned her a full-ride academic scholarship to Butler University following her graduation from Crispus Attucks High School in 1979.
“I was this close to majoring in public and corporate communications,” she explains. “It was brand new; it was going to be the first year they had that major. And thank God they gave me the advisor who was the journalism dean. He looked at me and said, ‘I’m looking at the stuff that you write. You’re not going into public relations. You’re going into journalism.’ … I cry when I think about him.”
Despite her long tenure at The H-T, Lane ended up at the Bloomington paper by a stroke of luck. After graduating from Butler, she planned to “set off into the world, work in a few small newspapers, and then be at the Chicago Tribune within five years.”
But by the September after her graduation, she still hadn’t found work. She had written just two published stories during an internship at the Noblesville (Indiana) Daily Ledger and her experience was limited. “I was getting turned down by weeklies all over Indiana and across Kentucky,” Lane says.
Then, she landed a job at the Franklin (Indiana) Daily Journal, where she worked for nearly two years until a colleague at The H-T was promoted and invited Lane to apply for his old job.
Lane is also known for writing the newspaper’s weekly “My Favorite Ride” column, which she undertook begrudgingly to quiet her editor. “I thought it would go away. Six months,” she says, laughing. “It’s been 20 years. I’ve written thousands of them, and every one is a joy to write.”