Last weeks arrest of Paul Nolen May meant only one thing. I would have to dust off my shoes, grab my pen and paper and begin my investigative reporting. All to answer one question: who was Mr. May?
Gathering information for my first couple of articles was easy. The police, superintendent and the district attorney were all there to provide the necessary information for the articles.
The next day after the arrest was made; I was glued to the news to watch and see if others had gathered the same, or more information than myself.
In one of the news channels, I watched as one of the reporters went up to Mr. May’s house and knocked on his door.
For a moment there I thought, "how could he?" But then the reality of it all hit me.
“Oh no, I thought,” “I am going to have to do that tomorrow too…”
And sure enough, I got the message from my boss that I too had to write a story about Mr. May.
But it was not surprising that I had to do that. As a reporter you have to sometimes walk a step faster than anyone else. That’s what makes you a good, strong reporter. There are some things that you always try to avoid doing as a reporter, and that’s to make someone cry or hurt. But to get the story, sometimes you do that, unintentionally.
So finding out who he was and speaking to his family and friends and trying to get as much information as I could about him was on the agenda the following day.
And the day was spent at the courthouse, the police department and interviewing people who knew him and would speak to me to write the follow up story.
Taking a break in between all the research, I went to take a break to see a friend and in conversation was talking about the Houston media and how they all had camped outside his house to get an interview.
“How dare they do that?” he asked in disbelief.
“They need to leave him alone, poor family.” And inside me, I felt a knot inside my stomach. “Thanks for not doing that too, Adriana.”
And little did he know that I too was about to do that.
But people sometimes forget that reporters are human too, with a job to do.
We are not out to get anyone, we are there to get the story.
So off I set to drive to his neighborhood and begin knocking on doors. A lady with a dog asked that I don’t come closer, her dog began to bark. And I walked as fast as I could, before her dog began to chase me.
Others just didn’t open their doors and it was understood. The person I ended up talking to told me that other media had continuously knocked on their door the day before trying to get information. So she thanked me for being nice when I approached her.
In the end, I got my article and I was able, with the help with those who I interviewed, write a story about Mr. May.
I love my job. Reporting is what I want to do for the rest of my life and writing will always be in my blood. Reporters always want to get that amazing story, those stories that readers appreciate. And then there are those stories that sometimes we try to avoid.
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