Tredding water

By Keeley Sheehan

I started writing this blog. I got about 150 words in and deleted it all.

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I'm running out of ideas for photo captions... much less stories... mid-term stress or omen...?

I was going to write about the fatal stabbing that happened in the University Heights over the weekend, but all my post would have said is that I went with Ren to the block where it happened because he was covering the story, and that I basically just sat in the car, scared and a little bit freaked out that A MURDER HAPPENED TEN FEET FROM WHERE I WAS SITTING and how my reaction made me wonder how much I’m really cut out for the newspaper biz.

But then I remembered that something comes up on an almost weekly basis that makes me wonder if I’m really cut out for the newspaper biz. I forget about research. I have trouble with ledes. I get nervous going to the Heights.

But I also covered Steve Lopez’s lecture last week as part of the Distinguished Speaker series. He talked about how he almost switched from journalism to a career as a mental health aid but that his friendship with Nathaniel, the homeless musician he met on the streets of LA who has schizophrenia, helped him see, even after 35 years, that journalism was still right for him.

“What Nathaniel did with this story was remind me that I had my own passion and I should hold onto it and do it as long as I could,” he said.

That’s why I think I’ll be OK, and that I have a future in journalism, even if I doubt myself sometimes. Steve Lopez has been in the business for years, as a sports reporter, a news reporter and a columnist, covering everything from natural disasters to the Olympics.

But what I saw Wednesday night wasn’t some hot-shot reporter with a couple of book deals in his back pocket. He was just a guy who goes to work and does his job and tries to do the best he can, even if he’s not always sure of himself. During the course of the evening, someone asked him how he handles writing about sensitive issues that get people fired up, and how he balances his writing and picks his words carefully enough so that people will see his point.

I don’t remember verbatim what he said but it basically summed up to the fact that he’s still trying to figure that out.

I am, too. And I’m OK with that.

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One response to “Tredding water

  1. Content: 4 Journalism can sometimes be scary.

    When I was a little older than you my editor sent me alone to Yosemite National Park to chase a serial killer who was targeting young women.

    My job was to go to the scene of the latest murders (a creepy hotel in the woods) and try to find out all I could. I was terrified. I ended up writing my first editorial for the paper about my feelings.

    I did my job, but I was careful. But then I felt foolish and like I had let my paper down when a reporter from some TV channel met one of the hotel janitors and convinced him to let her into the room the dead women had been staying in.

    I was furious at myself for not finding him first. (She found him by waiting up late and prowling about the hotel at night).

    She gloated when she told me she had an appointment for an interview with him the next day. She never did the interview, though. He got arrested first.

    He was the killer. He led police to the bodies of two more missing and mutated women.

    So, yes, you do want the story, but you also have to be careful.

    Links: 3
    Grammar: 3

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