Not being ahead of the story

Posted on December 29, 2011

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Today was a day of learning.

Today there was a fire started intentionally as a means of covering up a burglary. The fire department was called around 6am. The police and fire arrived around that time.

Here is the link to the story from the website:

http://www.marionstar.com/article/20111229/NEWS01/111229006/Marion-Servex-fire-arson-suspected

Today, I chased that story around like it was my lost dog. Granted, this was a breaking news situation, and information can get garbled and confused depending on the source, but that’s the kind of situation where I am supposed to be at the front lines, finding out what happened and getting it online for the Marion public.

Today, I learned something: When you let your guard down, things happen. The day you don’t get up at 6am and check the other media outlets, email, and make calls right away…that’s the day something like this happens.  As a cops and courts reporter, I need to be on top of these incidents as much as possible.

Today, I feel like I started to really learn my job. I interacted with the police and fire departments. I made sure that every fire department, law enforcement agency and dispatch center had not only my office number, but my cell number as well. And when all was said and done, I got the story. It will show up in print tomorrow. Is it possible that someone else got the story first? Possibly. Maybe they got a fact I didn’t get, or I asked a question they didn’t think of. But, I got the story, and I got it right.

I now have a fourth New Year’s resolution: Get it right, but also get it quick. If I can get that second part, I think I may actually be successful in the long run.

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