Friday, August 13, 2004

Excuse me, did you say, "Lake Elsinore?"

Yeah, I knew it was coming, but it's like being drafted. I got tagged to cover the candle vigil for David Gonzales. This one is not in Lemiert Park. It's out at Lake Elsinore. It's at least as far as Big Bear and maybe further. We can get a microwave signal out from there. No SAT truck needed.

I guess I can't complain. I want to. I really want to, but a drive all the way to Lake Elsinore is a minor inconvenience.

I'd been pretty lucky in that I hadn't had to interview any of the family members myself. It's difficult. The sadness weighs very heavy. The limited english spoken by the father in this case makes it even more difficult. I can tell by the way he talks in Spanish to the crew from Channel 52, he's naturally more at ease speaking in his native language.

Why do we talk to family members in times like these?

It's not a question of why we do what we do. It's our job to cover a story to the fullest extent possible. I will NEVER avoid making the attempt to interview a family member (More on this later. It deserves a full post). I will be respectful and readily accept their request to not be interviewed.

To me, it's a question of why do people talk to the media? I believe the answer is that you never really know what will work to bring back your child. An emotional plea made to the public might make a difference. No one wants to feel as if they didn't do absolutely every last possible thing in getting their child back.


Terri said...

I agree that's one reason, not to leave anything unsaid in the last ditch hope you might utter the magical phrase that reaches someone and also to keep people remembering. People forget so quickly. I bet without the vigil and other ongoing reminders every few days, two weeks from now you'd have to remind most people who David Gonzales is. And, maybe thirdly, it just makes the family feel like they are doing SOMETHING. It has to be home just sitting in your home, helpless. There 's little if anything you can do but sit and wait and wait, for what? For the feeling that will never go away, to go away? At least if the media gets involved you feel there's hope still alive. That the police will stay a little more accountable for one more week. Maybe. I don't know any of this, but maybe.

Terri said...

Just think of what you'd be doing if your job was in Florida right now? That has to be pretty intense. From someone (me) who would be a storm chaser if I had a choice of career changes. Still, this storm is pretty intense.

beFrank said...

I wish I had a picture of me during El Nino. Flooded streets in Laguna Niguel. Cars floating past. Me carrying the camera above my head as I wade through waist deep water to get shots of rescue workers pulling people out of cars half submerged. Oh, yeah. Good times.

You do that kind of stuff once or twice and then you don't hope for more of the same for a long time.

dkgoodman said...

Hope you weren't in Santa Ana, where I hear reporters were getting stung by swarms of bees agitated by kids with rocks. ouch!

Lynne said...

"To me, it's a question of why do people talk to the media?"
I find it funny that I usually hear this comment from media professionals. Thankfully people do talk to the media.

beFrank said...

In my experience there is clearly a time to talk and a time not to talk. My wife will attest to my inability to choose the appropriate course in my private life, so I'm not surprised when just regular people make the mistake of talking when it would be in their best interest to say, "no comment".

I want to do my job. I don't enjoy causing anyone any pain. I have to approach every story without bias. The best way to insure fair and accurate reporting is to treat each interview the same. That's not always possible, but I try.

Maybe more on this later, but I have a date tonight.
Action-Wife and I are child-free for the weekend. Whoo-hoo!