Tag Archive | reporting

More photos: Shamokin fire

It doesn’t matter how many fires you go to as a reporter, it doesn’t matter how many deaths you write about, each one affects you.

I remember the faces of the people I’ve written about posthumously. I still feel the emotion.

And yesterday was no different. I went to a fire in Shamokin, where a young girl died. It was wrenching to think that she was just 13-years-old.

But you still have a job to do and information to get out.

Part of my job yesterday was to take photos, and here’s some of them.

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AP reporter remembers serving as Oswald pallbearer

The 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination is tomorrow and many people are stepping back to remember what happened – the good, the bad and the ugly.

We all the major highlights of the story: how the young and vibrant Kennedy was gunned down as his wife looked on and how she showed such grace and beauty in the eye of tragedy.

But some points of the story are less well-known and many of the reports this week have helped some of us, including myself, learn about them.

Like I had never given a thought to Oswald’s family. I just never put it together that he would have left behind a family.

I also never thought about his funeral and the role reporters – like myself – served: pallbearers.

And now, one of those Associated Press reporters – Mike Cochran –  writes about his unique relationship to the tragedy, serving as  pallbearer at Oswald’s funeral.460x

You can read his full story here, and it’s one of traveling with the story through time.

(I think Mike is the reporter holding a notebook and leaning slightly out there in front).

This passage was particularly powerful for me – it showed just how much emotion was tied to Kennedy’s death – even among those of us who were supposed to remain neutral:

No one else would follow; even the minister failed to show. Shaking his head ever so slightly, Jerry Flemmons of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram turned to me and said, “Cochran, if we’re gonna write a story about the burial of Lee Harvey Oswald, we’re gonna have to bury the son of a bitch ourselves.”

Sure enough, officials asked the gathered reporters to serve as pallbearers. I was among the first they asked, my reply not just “No!” but “Hell no!” Then Preston McGraw of United Press International stepped forward and volunteered, and with my top competition for scoops accepting the duty, I realized my error and joined McGraw and other reporters.

Some very powerful stuff from a witness to history – with a bit of the journalism twists I can appreciate.

What do you remember most about the Kennedy assassination? What have you learned this week?

Hollywood publicist completely disses reporter – on camera

Next time I ever contemplate complaining about publicists or public relations person, I’ll have to remember this viral video of Marion Cotillard’s publicist completely dissing a reporter on the red carpet.

Since it was a red-carpet event, the cameras were rolling and caught the whole thing:

Wow.

I think the sentiment is OK – I mean, she’s busy, whatever, but the tone was just KILLLLER.

Look, everyone’s just trying to do their jobs, you, me, the reporter, etc. There’s no need to be rude about it. That’s the only thing I will say.

Any reporters out there with similar horror stories?

Ka-yaking on the Suquehanna

The view from my kayak.

The view from my kayak.

Last week, I did a first person account of my trip down the Susquehanna for the paper.

It was quite a doozy, and I wanted to share it with you here.

HUMMELS WHARF — Knowing myself, I wasn’t all that surprised that my adventure down the Susquehanna ended early, escorted back to the Shady Nook Boat Launch after losing my lunch on a river island.

I tend to somehow get myself into these conundrums.

But one thing really stands out to me about my ill-fated trip: I really had a good time. And that photographer Rob Inglis and I are much stronger on our right sides than our left.

When we heard about the opportunity to take part in the legislative and media kayak trip down the Susquehanna in a two-person floating vessel, we were ecstatic.

It was my first time in a kayak and the first time in a long time for Rob.

Our fellow kayakers included state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108, of Sunbury, who said that if she went overboard, she was taking as many people as possible with her, and Kurt Masser, R-107, of Elysburg, and his son, who just took his bar exam, but told anyone who got injured on the trip to give him a call.

Immediately, the first thing we noticed was that we were pulling hard to the left. Like every 15 seconds or so we would noticeably headed left.

“You can tell we’re both right-handed,” Rob joked.

But we weren’t laughing when we had to make a hard right to go around some rapids and ended up stuck in the shallow water, needing to be rescued by the very helpful and friendly Jim Charles, of the Isle of Que River Guides in Selinsgrove. We were the only people to get stuck, but we kept in good spirits.

As we made it to the first stop, on a rocky river island, I was feeling good. Not too tired, not too hot.

That changed when, as our guides were talking about the river’s history, the sun came out. And I was hot.

That’s when it happened. I lost it — or, more accurately, my stomach contents.

Everyone was so nice about it, giving me water and a snack to calm my stomach. But I was embarrassed.

And that’s when our river adventure ended. Charles took us back in his motorboat and we went back to the office to cool down.

But I swear, I only have fond memories of the trip.

Though maybe next time, I’m making sure that I’m able to take a dip in the river to cool down if need be. Hopefully that will add up to a little more “ka” a little less “yak.”

Blogging on the job: How far is too far?

Yesterday, fellow reporter Marcia Moore said she had an article she wanted me to read and discuss.

It was a Gawker article on a reporter from Alabama who posted 10 “confessions” on her blog and – after refusing to take them down – was fired.

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Shea Allen, the reporter in question

Here’s what she said:

  1. I’ve gone bra-less during a live broadcast and no one was the wiser.
  2. My best sources are the ones who secretly have a crush on me.
  3. I am better live when I have no script and no idea what I’m talking about.
  4. I’ve mastered the ability to contort my body into a position that makes me appear much skinner in front of the camera than I actually am.
  5. I hate the right side of my face.
  6. I’m frightened of old people and I refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside.
  7. Happy, fluffy, rainbow stories about good things make me depressed.
  8. I’ve taken naps in the news car.
  9. If you ramble and I deem you unnecessary for my story, I’ll stop recording but let you think otherwise.
  10. I’ve stolen mail and then put it back. (maybe)

My thoughts were: Well……she deserved it.

My approach to blogging is to always make sure that while you’re blogging about what’s going on, you always have to assume that your boss and your sources are going to read it – whether it’s on your personal blog, work blog, Twitter, anything. If you wouldn’t want them to, then don’t post it.

And if you happen to make a boo-boo and your boss says to take it down …. do it. Or you can lose your job.

You have to always assume your boss is out there, reading what you write.

And while I completely support the right to free speech – you have to realize that we’re living in a world where you have to be aware of what you say because these things go global. Sure you can say whatever you want, but if someone decides it’s harmful to their brand, they can fire you.

So, I agree with her boss’ decision. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but sometimes, you need to learn it.

Conquering a fear of heights?

Yesterday, Daily Item photographer Rob Inglis and I went to Knoebels in search of people to talk about what makes the park one of the best in the nation, as documented on the Travel Channel’s new rankings which puts the park at #2 in the country.

We were having fun and enjoying a day out of the office when it came down to crunch time, aka when Rob was force to confront his fear of heights on the Ferris Wheel in order to get an arial shot of the park.

It wasn’t pretty for a minute there.

Here’s the journey, which of course I had to capture on film:

Here he is preparing for ascent;

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Stories that touch you – Charles Attig

Rosa Attig holds up a photo of her son, Charles Attig Jr., who died while serving as a Shamokin Dam Police officer on June 10, 1983 after being shot.

Rosa Attig holds up a photo of her son, Charles Attig Jr., who died while serving as a Shamokin Dam Police officer on June 10, 1983 after being shot.

Every once in awhile as a reporter, you do stories that really touch you and really move you.

For me last week, it was the story of Shamokin Dam police officer Charles Attig Jr, who was shot in the line of duty in 1983, 30 years ago today.

Here’s the story I ended up with.

But what the story doesn’t tell you is that this story was one that just gripped me from the beginning. It is tragic, but the hero, “Charlie” as he was known, was a great guy and deserves to have his life celebrated for the great thing it was.

As you can see from the comments on the story, he touched just about everyone he came into contact with, acting as not only a good police officer, but as one of the people I talked to said, “a good neighbor too.”

His family and friends remember him as a great guy who only wanted to help others. It really affected me, in a way I can’t explain.

Please read the story and let me know what you think.