I was on deadline at the Sun office on Seal Beach Main Street when I heard what turned out to be a car colliding with a store. At the time I wondered what it was and then guessed that two cars had collided.

I hit command save on the fire I was working on, grabbed my camera and ran out. Sun Editor Dennis Kaiser was already ahead of me. A crowd had already gathered. I overheard people say things that turned out to be imprecise at best or just plan wrong.

“Someone drove into the store.”

Someone accidentally backed into a flower shop. Fortunately, no one suffered life threatening injuries.

“Someone’s trapped under the car.”

That wasn’t true, but I feared it might be as I pressed forward to take pictures for the Sun. I remember thinking I didn’t want to see someone hurt. Does that count as prayer? I was relieved to see the vehicle was empty.

Dennis and our customer service rep Courtney Pettijohn gathered details as I went inside to call the police, add photos to the website and compose a couple of paragraphs for the online Sun.

This sort of thing is not the reason I got into community journalism. Some journalists say “If it bleeds, it leads.” Not my style, at least not anymore. (When I was young, I was a jerk.) But in our line of work, we have to be able to put aside our own feelings—and sometimes other people’s—and gather information. And stay out of the way of the emergency responders while we’re doing it.

And hope that it is a long time before I have to rush once more to the scene of an unknown event with a camera, bracing myself for the possibility that I’m going to be gathering news about someone being hurt. I’ll do it. That’s part of the job. But I’m here to chronicle the life of a community, not the spilling of someone’s life’s blood.

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only 1 comment until now

  1. Marc Loopesko

    nothing like a ‘beat reporter’ being among the 1st on the scene,
    great reporting!

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