A timid reporter, Jan. 19, 2005

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2006

I remember as a young reporter the charge I used to get from a big story. Grabbing a notebook and camera and running from the office at the sound of a siren or a tip from a reader.

I experienced that same feeling again last night, briefly anyway.

About 6 p.m. the news department heard over the scanner about a possible shooting. Reporter Allison Williams was hard at work on a city council capital budget story and managing editor Douglas Grant was getting pages finished as deadline loomed. I, as is typical, was standing around doing nothing.


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It sounded exciting so I volunteered to go. It was on 10th Street, so I navigated the East Washington Street detour and saw a police officer had his car blocking the entrance to 10th. I went on down to 11th and turned in and cut back toward the action. There were fire trucks, police cars, police officers looking around on the street corner for shell casings.

Instead of, &uot;Wow, awesome,&uot; as I would have thought in my younger days, I was overcome by downright fear.

A large crowd had gathered, people were shouting and wailing, someone even beat on my car. This was no place for me to be hanging out. I stood as close to an officer as I could and meekly managed to fire off a couple shots that didn’t turn out well, jumped in my car and high-tailed it back to the safety of my office.

&uot;I’m going to leave that kind of stuff in the future to you single people with no dependents,&uot; I announced as I entered the office. &uot;I don’t have enough life insurance to be covering stuff like that.&uot;

I don’t know whether it’s being 17 years or so removed from regular crime reporting, or just the fact that I’m 17 years more conservative and timid, but I don’t miss it. The next time I hear the scanner going off, I’m heading the other way.