Story Behind The Story

7 Shootings In Columbus Over 24-Hour Period

You can thank the McDonald’s coffee sitting on my desk tonight for this blog. I don’t know if I would have had the energy otherwise!

Why you ask?

Today got off to a quick start. About a minute before I was to attend our afternoon editorial meeting, I got word of breaking news on the city’s south side. Turns out a double shooting had just occurred and two men were injured.

Considering the photographers with whom I usually work during the night weren’t in yet, (and we couldn’t wait for them) I had the pleasure of working with one of our fine dayside photogs, Joe.  We jumped in a live truck and headed to the scene. (If my life were TV show, it would have been the perfect place to add an action sequence from the 70’s. You know, something like the photographer throws his gear in the truck and the reporter says something cliché’ like ‘Let’s go!’ Now go to close up shot of our doors being slammed shut, key being turned in the ignition and our tires squealing and we’ve got a show!)  Hrrmmmm…. I might pitch that.

Anyways, once we arrived on scene I took a number of pictures on my cell phone so we could get the images to the web as quickly as possible. (Why wait to show you pictures at 5 and 6pm when we can show you them now online?) Only problem was the pictures didn’t feel like sending today. (It’s unbelievably frustrating!) The fact that my phone is station property was enough reason for me to practice restraint in throwing it.

In between glancing at my phone to see if the pictures had sent, I was trying to get information from officers at the scene. (You know, the who, what, where, when and why.)  For one, we had to figure out where exactly the shooting happened in the first place. See, there were two different scenes taped off. As we soon found out, the shooting happened at one location and the second location is where these two guys ran (or stumbled) to after they got shot. We happened to be at the second location.

So, after getting video there, Joe and I took a bit of a hike to the other location to get video there as well. (Then we hiked back… I guess we got our exercise in for the day!)

Once we got back to our truck, we spoke to a guy who had been working like crazy on his lawn. He told us one of the victims had actually approached him with his hand bleeding and said he had been shot.  Naturally, we asked if we could interview him for our story. Fortunately for us, he said yes. (Bingo!)  Now, we could have easily tried to interview people who simply live in the neighborhood. After all, since the shooting happened near their home, they’re impacted by it one way or another. But anytime we as journalists run into someone who has a first hand account of what happened, (and in this case actually interacted with a victim) that makes for a very unique perspective in the story. (Jackpot!)

Moving on, the story I’m working on for the 11pm news tonight is not simply about a double shooting.  It just so happened that Wednesday night was a crazy night in Columbus in terms of shootings. There were six that happened within a matter of hours. (So this made seven shootings within a 24 hour period.)  That’s the story. (In your best Jerry Seinfeld voice now, “What’s the deal with all these shootings?”)

The CPD assault squad sergeant arrived at the scene later in the afternoon and we were able to interview him for his perspective on the shootings. Once we finished that interview, we shot a couple sells (or teases) and went on our way.

To broaden our story, we also swung by some of the locations where there had been shootings the night before. Not surprisingly, many of the folks we ran into wanted nothing to do with us. (That’s nothing new) However, we were able to find some nice folks sitting outside their home who were more than happy to give their opinion on the shootings that happened near their home.

When all was said and done, I had more than enough to write a story for our newscast (and to write this blog for you!)

Posted by Tom Brockman  on 07/20 at 06:35 PM



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