Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sometimes a good job isn’t enough

BruceGallaudetW

By
From page B1 | April 19, 2013 |

Words are my livelihood, yet they’ve failed me as I wrestled with this column.

I know what I want to say, but I’m not sure how to say it.

After working through an article that talked with local “survivors” of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, I had mixed feelings about my task as a journalist.

I’ve had colleagues and readers tell me that my account of local residents Mick and Pam Petersen’s experience (and the report that a large Davis contingent of runners was safe) was good work.

Reading it back, from the standpoint of a craftsman, I’m proud of it.

However, personally I remain conflicted. Reporting, as I do, about people in our community, which I’ve been a part of for nearly 35 years, often is a challenge, and all too frequently a sorrow.

Fortunately, on Monday, the friends and acquaintances I was searching for all had happy-ending stories — albeit harrowing ones — to tell.

But such isn’t always the case. And in community journalism, practiced with an aplomb at this newspaper that few other publications can match, we as reporters are invested more than meets the eye.

I have reported on firings and arrests of people with whom I have worked or grown up. I have written about the deaths of longtime friends of mine and my children.

More often than not, when a tragedy strikes — like last weekend’s murders of a South Davis couple — it hits too close to home, given the lengthy service records of our staff members. (In this case, the crime occurred next door to longtime family friends and two doors down from where my son and his girlfriend live.)

Doing our jobs on behalf of our readers can be a double-edged responsibility; we often have to put our own psyches on hold.

I chatted with Lauren Keene, The Enterprise’s longtime courts and emergency service reporter, about how she deals with a world that I visit only occasionally from my normally good-news perch in sports (often called the toy department of newspapers).

Our conversation bucked me up, and made me even prouder of my colleagues.

“More often than not, I’ve found that while I may be dealing with people during the worst moments of their lives … at the same time they want to tell their loved ones’ stories and make sure they are remembered for how they lived, not how they died,” Keene told me.

“That’s what I try to remember each time I reach out to survivors, but if they are at all hesitant, I make every effort to be respectful and keep my distance.

“I think people appreciate that, and I’ve had many people open up to me after having some time to sort through their feelings.”

Community journalism.

Owners, editors, writers, production and advertising staff, carriers — we all live here. We are all impacted by every event we bring to you. Sometimes those stories are painful and remind us as writers of our own mortality.

Over my 40-plus years as a “small-town” journalist, I’ve been on several assignments in which the tragedy was startlingly close.

So has Keene …

“I would say I am most conflicted when dealing with tragedies involving children, having two of my own,” she said. “At the same time, being a parent gives me a strong connection to the people I interview in these situations … and that enables me to offer them a great deal of empathy and understanding.”

But the dichotomy remains.

As a craftsman, I looked at what I had written about the Davis folks in Boston as a good piece of journalism. As a person who knew many of those people, Monday started out with apprehension and it could have ended in tragedy, but for the grace of God.

I am glad I don’t have the ongoing task that has become Keene’s in now working through the details of the murders of people I only knew from afar and that many of you knew and loved.

Keene told me about another professional experience of hers that spotlights what we deal with and try to handle with compassion from time to time.

“The first trial I ever covered was the double homicide of two elderly women, one of whom I knew from her service on the board of a youth group I belonged to in junior high and high school,” Keene explained. “It wasn’t until after the verdict that I informed her daughter that I knew her mother.

“Her response was to break down in tears and embrace me.

“That was a touching moment for me, because even though I had given equal weight to both sides of the case, she didn’t feel that I had betrayed her mother in any way.

“I went away feeling that I had done my job well.”

Lauren, in times of tragedy like this week, it’s all any of this staff can hope for.

While I Have You Here: Thank goodness, here’s the good news from Boston. Golden Valley Harriers officials Craighton Chin and Martin Sengo report on how our local runners did on Monday…

“This race report was supposed to feature Jim Flanigan’s 30th Boston Marathon (and 100th marathon) completion,” Sengo said via email. “It was supposed to highlight Laurin Beckhusen’s 15 consecutive Boston finishes. Regretfully, I cannot report these milestones.”

Both runners were diverted from the course after the bomb blasts.

“Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned and we make adjustments. I am grateful that all of our Boston GVH runners are safe, but deeply saddened for the victims and their families,” Sengo continued.” It is sad to think that the aura of running Boston may be forever changed.

“But through the tragedy, we find strength — in our club President Steve Andrews, who persistently led the charge in tracking down GVH runners and expressed his genuine concern about each member; in our members who opened up their family’s homes to accommodate runners; in everyone who expressed their care and concern throughout this disaster.”

Andrews led an accomplished cadre of GVH runners and set a marathon personal best at 2:42.

Sam Bird finished in 2:47. Jason Cavatorta had a 5-minute PR at 2:50. New member Di Wu had a stellar sub-3-hour performance, finishing in 2:58. All previously mentioned — along with Michael Park, Greg Loge, John Burmester, Clariza Aguillon-Doms and Dan Landherr — bettered their qualifying times. Cristina Ramirez led the women and had a great race. A battered Matt Young started the race, but dropped out with injuries after a strong first half (1:22).

Davis surgeon Mick Petersen, not affiliated with GVH, finished in 4:01 — eight minutes before the bombs went off.

Bruce Fisher also was not allowed to finish after the bombs went off. Flanigan’s consecutive Boston streak is other-worldly (25-plus). Beckhusen ran his 15th consecutive Boston Marathon. Officials could grant the trio “finish” status.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5