Jan 28, 2008

What drew me in

What drew me to journalism, first, was the mere, sheer physical presence of paper. My dad read two papers a day, when I was growing up, and the remains were always scattered about the breakfast table, the living room, and the recycling bin on the back porch. So I picked up the habit of reading the newspaper and it was natural to think, when the opportunity arose, of pursuing journalism as a career.

How I got into crime reporting is a little harder to say. It was my somewhat dark disposition combined with an accident. During my first internship at a small daily paper, the crime reporter was quitting to go get a masters degree and she refused to call the grandmother of a teen who'd been shot during a marijuana deal. I didn't know what I was doing, but I had been reporting on parades and local, senior home events and I wanted something more. I was dreaming stories that were about life and death, about what it meant to be human. The veteran crime reporter was saying quite colorfully that crime reporting was "horrible." I was saying, "I'll do it. I'll do it. I'll do it." I ended up spending the afternoon in a very dark apartment, talking to the grandmother of a murdered teenager.

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