The Glory Days is a piece for Crimson Quarterly written by culture editor Abigail Hall. In the story, Hall uncovered Norman’s musical past, which featured household names like Jimmy Buffet and Willie Nelson. Through the use of the Lloyd Noble Center and Campus Corner, the ‘70s and ‘80s overflowed with “freaks” searching for good music. Unfortunately, concerts and music festivals came to a halt as property owners wanted less trouble. Although concerts and music festivals still exist in town, Norman has shifted away from the vibrant music scene some alumni remember. Hall created an interactive timeline that dates back to 1977, when Kiss performed, to 2016, when the Newsboys came to town. Hall also sourced photography from different outlets such as Facebook and OU Daily files.
Hall chose this piece because she is enamored with music. This is not the first story Hall has written over music, and it won’t be the last. For Hall, she believes the narratives prominent in music transfer easily into news-worthy stories. Hall finds music unique in many instances, from the way thousands of strangers share the experience of a live performance, to how music can speak and relate to her community and audience on a personal level.
For Hall, the best resource in her work is the people around her. From her professor and OU Daily adviser Seth Prince to her OU Daily editorial board, Hall finds support and consistent collaboration from every direction. Hall isn’t afraid to ask for help and believes writing gets better with edits and consistent practice. Hall carried this love for storytelling throughout her childhood from fond memories with her grandfather. He would always read the newspaper, and she liked the way the paper felt beneath her fingers. As she grew up, she read obsessively, but that wasn’t enough. Hall moved onto creative writing and discovered an unmatched fondness for her new hobby. Despite traveling the world, Hall came back to Oklahoma knowing she needed to continue writing.
The editors at the Daily are the main reason why she found one of the most prominent sources in her story, Mark Watkins. With their encouragement, she posted on several social media pages and soon, sources flooded into her inbox. Originally, Hall was asked by the Crimson Quarterly editor to write the story, and her work quickly turned into an intimate look into Norman past. Sources like Watkins helped paint an even more vivid picture for her audience as he uncovered Norman’s past of the Watermelon Feed Festival and Oklahoma Sound Rush. With Watkins’s recollection, Hall created an opening to her story that outlined what a night in 1974 looked like for the music junkies of Norman.
Unfortunately, Hall learned the darker side of journalism in this piece as one of her sources, omitted shortly after his interview ended, sexually harassed her while she questioned him about the Norman music scene. Despite the unfortunate experience, Hall refused to let her source ruin her memory or love for the story, and continued writing after taking a break to heal. Hall’s newsroom was supportive in standing by her side as she came to terms with her experience.
For Hall, this piece is one of her proudest moments in her career of journalism. For the young reporter, she felt as though she uncovered something forgotten in the Norman community. Through the collaborative work through small snippets of interviews, social media posts, and help from her newsroom, Hall’s story turned into what she said was “almost a community project.” For Hall, unearthing Norman’s musical past felt like something much bigger than her or her career.