I love my job, but it can get hazardous.
Last Thursday morning, I received a call on my cellphone about “a breaking news story.” Strong winds had snapped an electrical pole on Sparta Street in front of the mall. Before they asked me if I would be interested in that, I was already in my car.
When it comes to events such as that, you have to throw caution into the wind (for lack of a better phrase) and go. If you wait for the area to be safe, it will also be blocked off by officers. Even a reporter will have a hard time getting close enough for a decent picture.
There are two ways to look at that – they are trying to prevent me from getting a good shot or they are trying to prevent me from getting the shock of my life. I’m thinking it’s the latter.
At a structure fire once I was told where to stand so I wouldn’t get in the way. Sadly, I also wasn’t going to get a good picture from that spot because there were too many trees between me and the house. I slipped through the woods and went around to the other side of the house.
My chances of getting a picture greatly improved, but I could feel the heat from the fire. I will admit that I need protection from myself on occasion.
Here’s how I handle motor vehicle wrecks: First, I try not to get in the way of emergency personnel. I recognize they have a vital job to do. Second, I take pictures from different angles. I like to circle the scene, if possible. Third, I get as close as I can. I keep getting closer until someone yells at me. When that happens, I know I’ve gone too far.
I’d call myself daring. I do have a heightened sense of self preservation, but I want to give our readers the best news coverage. There’s a fine line between those. There is one line that I won’t cross.
While I’m out the door in an instant when it comes to structure fires and wrecks, I hesitate at “shots fired.” I will wait until they have the shooter on the ground. Sadly, once that is done, the scene is so secure that even I can’t get access.
My job also includes covering both city and county governments, human interest stories, covering local events, writing a weekly column, and everything else – excluding sports. All that requires a lot of networking. You have to get to know lots and lots of people.
Case in point, the phone call about the electrical pole that broke. I wouldn’t have known about it without that call. Feel free to call about such things.
No job is perfect. There are aspects that I could live without. However, I prefer to focus on what I like about it. All things considered, being a newspaper reporter is pretty awesome.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.