Covering events from afar

Apr. 23, 2013 @ 05:14 AM

A lot of times, being a journalist and covering a story means having an hour of two of time where you research and things can be slow.

This is usually followed by 45 minutes to an hour of sheer panic and disarray.

Reporters can spend hours doing research, making phone calls, gathering information and spending that precious hour before deadline writing in a fury.

Editors are basically the same way.

Getting notes, going to meetings, coordinating coverage and checking on story production will likely fill up most of a day. But, that hour or so before deadline, the pressure is on and you are saddled with finalizing a news story budget, editing copy and making sure everything is straight.

Sometimes those things are all be out of flux, causing panic across the board.

Such was the case on Friday.

On Friday night, television media and the Twitter universe started perking up with developments in Boston surrounding the potential capture of a second suspect.

The newser in me jumped from where ever I was at the time and started to spring into action. Not because I was trying to get copy for the newspaper but because I was going to make an attempt at utilizing Twitter and The Daily Courier’s website to keep readers informed.

With my laptop in my lap and my iPhone next to me, I was prepared.

I started with watching developments on the Internet through outlets like NBC, CNN and Bloomberg — all of which were streaming coverage online.

I had the bright idea to look into monitoring scanner traffic out of Boston on my phone. So, I plugged in and away I went.

I had about 10 different tabs up on my laptop, including our website, Twitter, Internet television news and online scanner traffic from the Massachusetts State Police. On my iPhone, I had Boston Police radio traffic.

The events transpired and the website, Twitter and Facebook was updated with information over a two-hour period.

When I finally decided to put everything down and call it a night, I looked back and realized that there was never a moment in those two hours where I had taken a break or not done something regarding updating the situation from sources like The Boston Globe, the Associated Press or other credible media outlets. This also included following the Boston Police Department and reporters on the ground in Boston.

I was careful to not re-Tweet scanner traffic. I started to, initially, but thought better of it.

It took me back to the days of covering state government and sports where what used to be a pedestrian event to cover turned into a madhouse all thanks to the Internet.

After reflection and as I calmed myself and readied for sleep and I was reminded why I do what I do.

If even one person saw our website or followed our Twitter that night, I felt I had done my job.

And that is one of the reasons why journalists love their job.


Matthew Clark is the Editor of The Daily Courier. He can be reached at 828-202-2927 or emailed at Follow him on Twitter @UMass_MClark or @TDCMatt