News gathering


I don’t remember what made me think of him.

I’d typed the police report last weekend: a young father flown to Pittsburgh after his ATV crashed into the guard rail. On Thursday, with little to do, I remembered him, somehow, and ran his name through Facebook again. I do that sometimes, wondering what happened after an accident or a crime report. I wondered if he was home, or still hospitalized, or deceased.

Not a lot had changed since the weekend but this time I found a link to a fundraiser page. His friends are putting on a benefit for him and his family and I called the friends, got details and learned about his family, his children’s ages, his wife and they help they all need.

The story ran Sunday.

Last week they told me to find a contribution for a weekend column of news snippets and I had nothing. There’d been no meetings and no one sent any emails or made any phone calls that fit the bill.

I started looking up coffee shops, independent businesses and even a few community organizations on Facebook.

One of the coffee shops was celebrating its 10th anniversary that weekend, and my contribution was made.

Those are the kind of stories we do a lot, but they reflects the way my generation of news gathering is just a little different from previous ones.

I never left my desk. I don’t live near those people and I didn’t see the fliers in the grocery store and I wasn’t making rounds looking for news tips.

Not physically, anyway.

Oh, getting out into the community and building relationships and just checking in with sources is still vital. But some of that you can do online.

On Facebook, even.

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