I am somewhat old school in that I still wake up each morning to a radio station playing on an old-fashioned alarm clock. I do not use my phone with an obnoxious tone like many others do. There are many reasons that I do this, and I won’t deny that one of those reasons is pure stubbornness.
My alarm is set to go off on the hour, so most mornings I wake up to an hourly news report. I usually only vaguely remember these news reports as I’m never fully awake during them; however, I do remember the report from this morning because I heard one word that stuck out to me.
That word? Homicide.
About an hour later I sauntered into the newsroom and sat down to casually scroll through Twitter before beginning the day’s work. A few minutes later John approached me with a story to do some reporting on.
Yep, it was that homicide I had heard on the radio when waking up an hour earlier.
Twenty minutes later I found myself walking down a sidewalk in a neighborhood that was not only new to me, but it was also a neighborhood that I knew I didn’t blend in to. In fact, I knew I stuck out like a sore thumb.
Erin and I walked down the sidewalk looking for anything that seemed out of the ordinary or noteworthy. Turns out, we were the only thing out of the ordinary in the neighborhood at the time.
As we came closer to each home, residents sitting on the porch would rise from their seat and duck inside their front door, clearly not wanting to speak to us. The people we did speak to either didn’t know anything or chose to not share anything with us.
This assignment was definitely a tough one, but I enjoyed it. Journalism is much more fun when you can lace up your tennis shoes and take a walk. This is when all of those newsroom conversations turn into tangible actions. This is when you’re forced to make decisions on the fly. This is when ethics are no longer something to debate, but something that must be decided on and acted on.
This is when the fun begins.
I took part in some other shoe-leather journalism today. Early in the afternoon I walked up to the courthouse to take a look at some case files. Unfortunately I wasn’t given what I was needed, and, now that I look back at it, I wish I would have pushed back a little harder than I did.
Later in the afternoon I walked much of the downtown area asking businesses if they would be hiring students this fall. While this is about as ‘soft’ as journalism gets, I still enjoyed seeing the inside of so many businesses downtown, many of which I had never been inside of before.
When I left the newsroom this afternoon I started to feel like I didn’t have a very productive day because I wasn’t able to be published or make progress on any of the stories I had already started. I soon realized, however, that I still had a productive day reporting on foot.
All in all, it was an exciting and fulfilling day in and out of the newsroom.