Saturday was sorta crazy. I mean, people kept getting shot – so many people kept getting shot that, as I was previewing some of the headlines I’d written, I had too many “Man Killed…..” headlines. I had to rewrite one to say “Man Fatally Shot….”
I mean really. I don’t think anyone really gets the full impact of how nutty people can be until they work in the heart of a newsroom – among the reporters and photogs who have to run out to the scene. People, especially journalists themselves, like to joke about how they’re so cynical, but when you’re writing about all these people getting killed in so many ways, you have to develop a thick skin or you’ll go nuts.
When I started as a reporter at a professional paper (heheh, not to say that my old paper was all that professional, but it wasn’t a college reporting job) I started in the grunt beat – the cops and courts beat. And I started in possibly the worst way – covering the Glendale Police sexual harassment trial (There’s not a lot of info online that gives some overall facts about this, and my series of articles about it are not on this new site yet. Sorry). But you eventually get entrenched and get rolling, because the cops need the small town paper as much as the small town paper need the cops.
I remember when I had to write about three dead bodies in one week. In Glendale, that’s a lot and it kind of upset me. See, unlike the work I am doing now (taking stories from the wires and our broadcasts and massaging it for online reading), for each person who was killed in my old paper’s coverage area, I had to go out and actually talk (or try to talk) to people’s friends, coworkers and family to write about either why it was such a tragedy that this person had died, or why it was so hard to understand why someone would want to kill this person. It takes a toll on you, and I think that was one week I had back spasms (I get them when I’m stressed).
Now, I’m just reading about them – I don’t have to go out and actually talk to these people, or really get to know these people like before. But still – writing these headlines can make you stop and wonder what the hell is going on there and do I really want to go outside? when you have to rewrite a “Man Killed…” headline a couple of times because it looks too similar to the other headlines.
*sigh* Well, at least right now there’s Olympic stories to fall back on. When you get a chance, check out our Olympics section and the profiles that I and a part-timer (who is more of a sports guy than me) wrote. It may suck to write about people killing each other all the time, but writing about these local Olympians was definitely eye-opening too. Go Chanda Gunn!