Tuesday, April 03, 2007

With Great Dread

While I craft winking features on marathon basketball games, Ken Corn covers the kind of story that keeps you up at night...

You never know what to expect when you're a photographer working the night shift on a Saturday night in a city as large as Charlotte. I've pointed my lens at riots erupting in uptown after a New Year's Eve countdown. I've witnessed the aftermath of a shoot out between two rival gangs at a neighborhood block party. I've seen more twisted metal and broken glass piled high in city streets than your average tow truck driver. Yeah, you just never know what kind of images you will record when covering the news on a Saturday night.

Reporter Frances Kuo and I had just wrapped up an eleven o'clock live shot at a DWI checkpoint when my cell phone started ringing. Our work shift usually ends after the eleven o'clock show. But more often than not, we have to visit another crime scene or two before we can turn in the live truck keys for the night. Knowing the ringing box on my hip probably meant there was a scene somewhere waiting for us, I hesitated to unclip it from my belt.

I did not expect the words that flowed out of the electronic speaker pressed to my ear.

"We have a cop shot, up off of Milton Rd."

News photographer auto pilot kicked in when my brain registered the magnitude of the sentence I just heard. I handed the phone over to Frances so she could write down the details while I looked for the next exit off of the beltline. I could feel adrenalin seeping into my blood stream making my foot heavy on the gas petal. My mind started running scenarios of what we should do when we arrived on scene. We needed to find witnesses to interview. I needed to capture officers and other emergency workers rushing to the scene with my lens. Frances needed to find the public information officer to confirm the information our assignment editor had heard over the scanner. We needed to be on the scene right now instead of twenty minutes away.

Continue reading With Great Dread...

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