The best part about working in a smaller community is how quickly you become a part of it. I'm still a month away from five years at the Herald, and the volunteer parents who collect tickets at sporting events usually smile and have a roster ready for me as I walk in the door.
And while my ego certainly needs to be held in check every now and then, making the F-list of Tri-Cities celebrity isn't why I mention this. What really feels good is when people appreciate what you do and trust you to do it well.
I imagine reaching this level while working at a bigger paper in a real metro area would take a lot longer. A denser population to cover as part of a larger newsroom would probably reduce repeated interactions. And while this would be true in all aspects of what we cover, I'm willing to bet it'd be much harder to build a good working relationship with big city police.
It's not all rosy relationships with local law enforcement. Some are better than others at returning our reporters' phone calls, providing basic information on-scene and, more importantly, letting us know what the department is up to. Others like to complain that we only focus on the negative when they're the ones who never share their positives.
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I can't really complain here, especially after seeing the testy and sometimes brutal relationships some police departments have with media around the country.
I especially can't complain because there are people like Kennewick police Cmdr. Scott Child, who has turned into a part-time shutter bug whenever I bump into him on assignment:
I'm not sure when it started, but the first time I remember it happening was last spring, when Scott offered to shoot a photo of Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg and me:
I did my best to cheese up the fake grip-and-grin.
Since then, he's come up to ask if he can machine-gun my camera (since it rattles off 8.5 frames per second), and I now often offer up a camera when I see him away from accidents and crime scenes. It's happened enough that his colleagues often plead with me to not let him near my camera.
What would be the fun in that?
He manages a decent frame every now and then,
but for the most part, he just snaps away at all those around him,
before finishing with his signature photo:
So I think I should be safe from Cmdr. Child taking my job.
My list of gripes is long, as readers of BtF know, but there's plenty to be thankful for in my job. Having a jovial relationship with local police and getting a chance to cover their community outreach is a treat.
Even I couldn't be grumpy during an early morning at the Richland Wal-Mart to kick off a long split shift two Saturdays ago when kids got to shop for Christmas presents with cops, many of whom kicked in their own money to supplement the $100 gift cards donated to each child.
And guess who was there to help me cover it:
No links this week...
Because I'm on vacation and writing this on Sunday. I will, however, note that I worked pretty hard on this video from last Saturday's Cable Bridge Run:
I'd probably change a few things if I were to edit it on a less sleep-deprived and flu-addled brain, but I was reasonably happy with how it turned out. I was even more pleased to see it get more than 400 views. It was a nice pre-vacation stat to see, especially after a couple recent videos got a demoralizing 53,
and 14 views:
Merry Christmas, faithful readers.