Thursday, December 24, 2009

The first fatality...

Today I got my first truly tragic assignment; a fatal car accident on highway 9.

I wasn't prepared to leave the newsroom today, as I assumed it would be a slow news day. (I have since learned that you can never assume anything in a news room...) I was wearing a dress, and did not have a spare change of warm clothes in my car, as Mary Agnes suggested before I started.

The roads were snowy and slippery, as I made my way up highway 9 looking for the scene of the accident. (I already knew there was a fatality going into it, and the whole way there, I told myself that this was my job, and I had to take the human aspect out of it.) I have only been an intern for ten days, yet here I am, going to the scene of a fatality...

I am not sure how seasoned reporters do this, but my method was to take away the human factor. (I only saw the carnage of the vehicles, and did not see the victim; I think that helped...Plus, my other job has exposed me to some pretty tragic situations, and has kind of hardened me to a degree.)

Hardened or not, stories like this are sad no matter how you look at it.

My thoughts are with this man and his family...


  1. don't take the human aspect out of it. in fact that's what you want to get for your story.

    i know you probably won't get the identity of the victim, but if you did, and were able to talk to his family about the timing of the loss? all the things they were planning with him for christmas, etc. sad, poetic, heartbreaking story right there. that's what you need to get once you go past the accident.

    just wait until you have to call up the family of dead people, or approach a group of friends along the river searching for their friend who they presumed is drowned. some of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. but you learn.

  2. Reporters need to tell the story..... and you told the story..... the story of winter roads and hazardous driving conditions. You also respected the privacy of the person who died, and his family.