Tag Archives: confessions of a journalist

I’ve Become a Sissy

ambulance

Tonight seemed like any other night, minus the fact that I had the urge to get out of my apartment and take part in some physical exercise.

I started my run towards the neighborhood behind my complex when my sister called in, which then became my excuse to stop running and just chat away to catch up on life.

I had done my loop and finished sharing with my sister the dream I had about attending Kanye West’s birthday party with my parents when a sweet couple walks up to me and asks for help.

“We don’t know what to do, he isn’t well,” they said as I pulled out my headphone and looked at the black vehicle that seemed parked on the side of the road.

They took me to the drivers side and there sat a man slumped over in a position that no one in a heathy state would be in. That’s when my heart began racing and all I could think was, “This man is dead!?”

I worked in newspaper for six years doing the crime beat so this isn’t the first dead body I’ve seen. But for some reason this was the first time pure panic crept over me.

I couldn’t touch him, all I could do was yell at the rolled down driver’s window, “Sir! Sir!”

I asked the kind man who pulled me aside if the man felt cold to the touch. He said yes. Then I asked if he had felt for a pulse and his face contorted a little when he said no he hadn’t done that but he had already called 9-1-1.

Obviously, touching his neck to feel for a pulse wouldn’t save his life, but it would have brought clarity. But try as I might I couldn’t bring myself to do anything beyond yelling sir and asking if I should call 9-1-1 again.

While we were waiting another neighbor came up and asked about what was happening. We then asked if he would like to feel for a pulse and unlike us sissys this man went for it – but the man in the car’s body was too contorted to get to a pulse without moving his body.

That’s when the man in the car moved a little. I don’t know if it can be described as a jerk – but it was more than just his body falling further down. He was alive!

That’s when the other man helping noticed the car, which was running, was also in drive. Somehow the man passed out in his car with his foot wedged on the break – by the grace of God alone.

“We need to put this in park,” the man said.

I felt my pulse quicken as I realized the four of us were about to device a plan to reach into the car to make sure it didn’t suddenly start rolling away adding more to the already scary situation.

But just when I thought some action was about to be taken the beautiful sound of sirens began coming closer and closer.

Shout out to the Orange County Fire Department for the quickest response time. They immediately pulled in and rushed to turn off the car and get the man out. Loaded him on the stretcher and began making efforts to get him back to.

Unfortunately, I won’t know the end of the man’s story. He had a weak pulse and was whisked away to the nearest emergency room. The kind couple can rest assured that if he lives, they are responsible.

I, however, walked the rest of the way home realizing that the hardened journalist who was quick to jump in the car at the sound of possible death is now a big sissy. I couldn’t even touch the guy!

Geesh. What have I become.

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Confessions of a Journalist

reporter

I cried on my drive to work today.

Now some of you readers, the few who have been with me for the past couple years, may think this is an every day occurrence because for some unknown reason I’ve chosen to be very honest on this blog.

I promise you, I do not cry every day. I’m not the most emotional person in the world. I don’t even cry during Hallmark commercials. OK, I cry the first time I see them but after that I am strong like a warrior.

Yesterday, I had to get some work done on my car. My 2009 car that when purchased had less than 10 miles on it and that now has almost 140,000 miles on it.

I cried today, and  — since I’m being honest — yesterday, because when I got the bill for my car I realized I would soon be the poorest I’ve ever been in my history of comprehending my finances.

I’ve lived a relatively conservative life spending-wise. Yet, any hope of saving went out the window the second I said, “I think being a journalist is a good idea.”

The truth about this career is that most print journalists are struggling. I know I’ve discussed it ad nauseum here.

But this morning I started practicing my speech to my editor. “I know these are hard times and we’ve discussed my pay before, but I’m hoping you will reconsider and try to find it in the budget to just give me a slight raise …”

I was driving along in the dark at 5 a.m. practicing when the tears began streaming down my face.

No matter what I say, I’m not getting a raise. No matter what I do, how little I spend, I’ll still be on the edge of poverty.

I know there are people out there considering this job and I don’t want to crush dreams but the reality is that most of the time the good parts of this job are outweighed by the fact that I can barely afford groceries let alone the gas it takes just to get to the newspaper.

It’s moments like this that I tell myself to hang onto for the day I say goodbye to the business. I know that when that day comes I’ll have this voice in my head questioning the decision:

“Are you sure you want to do this? You won’t be able to tell people you have this super cool-sounding job anymore or see that by line on the front page. You won’t have this tiny bit of fame you’ve gotten used to. You won’t have adventures that make for excellent conversation later.”

I’m, unfortunately, sure. I can’t keep this up. It’s tearing me apart inside. I hate being the person constantly worrying about their finances, watching everyone have fun and live life while I’m counting pennies.

I don’t want to worry about paying for rent or groceries. I just want to have a little savings and be able to feel safe with my finances.

Is that asking too much?

 

I’m a Reporter

photo

It’s strange to think that I’ve been in this business now going five years full time. There’s been some pretty hard days, but then again there’s been some pretty great days too.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my career. Where I want to go, what I want to do, who I want to be.

A few months back I spoke with some high school students on the value of being a reporter today. Ironic, since I’m going to graduate school with the intention of pursuing other career options.

But talking with the students made me feel like maybe this journalism thing is a higher calling, so to speak. No, I’m not a preacher or a prophet. But I am a professor of truth.

It almost makes you forget about the lousy pay, terrible hours and little to no thanks.

I guess this post is my musing. Who am I if I’m not a reporter? It’s all I’ve ever done, at least as an adult.

I think it may be all I know how to do.

After years of working in this business I no longer can have normal conversations with people, including my own parents.

My mother told me a story about a student who got into the attic and the only thing I could think about was calling the paper to tell them about a great little story we could pick up.

Even outside the office when I’m talking to people on the phone or in person I automatically have a pen and paper in my hand and am taking notes. I don’t think I can focus without doing that now.

I’m quick to not trust and quicker to look both ways when I cross the street.

I guess, five years later, I really am a journalist. No longer a newbie. No longer wading through the unknown.

I’ve become one.

Hello. My name is Angel and I’m a reporter. Nice to meet you.