A Boston journalist’s take on the marathon bombings

58128_10151616813503760_94963851_nA week ago today, two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Two hours before they exploded, I’d been standing at the second bomb site.

For the past week, the bombings are all anyone’s been able to talk about. It’s a “where were you when…” situation that’s sickeningly similar to 9/11 recollections. I’ve waited several days to try and grapple with, to evaluate how I feel about everything. I know it’s something I want to write about, something I want to encapsulate in the foreverness of the Internet, but something deeply personal, too.

The United States of America was assaulted on Monday. Boston was assaulted on Monday. The 190 people that were killed or maimed in the past week were assaulted. And so was I.

AB kept asking me if I was okay because I wasn’t talking a whole lot (To be fair, I’ve been really sick and couldn’t talk if I wanted to). Mostly, I’ve just kept quiet because I don’t really know how to process very well. When 9/11 happened, I was 9 years old and 3,000 miles away, so everything seemed eerily distant. Most of my classmates had never seen New York, and most didn’t have family working to rescue victims and clean up the aftermath—For the most part, I felt very alone in my naive perspective of terrorism.

Though the scope of this attack is only a fraction of the World Trade Center, it’s admittedly more impactful for me. I’m older, for starters; and I’m a witness to the horror. I’ve walked that street, I’ve seen people crutching through the city with bandages covering their shrapnel wounds. I’ve come to adopt this incredible city as my own in the past 4 years, and I was deeply offended that someone could attack it.

On Friday morning, I woke up at 3:00 a.m. to get ready for my internship. When I’d gone to bed hours earlier, two bombing suspects had been identified in photos by the FBI, and an MIT security officer had been shot and killed. Overnight, the events had escalated far quicker than I ever would have thought.

I got into the newsroom early and spent the next 13 hours stalking the Twittersphere, calling sources, running memos between the newsroom and the studio, and doing—for lack of a more comprehensive term—journalism.

Halfway through the day, I drove back into the city to pick up a friend. I was chilled by the empty streets, how a thriving “Hub” of a city could turn into a war zone in minutes. My city looked downright apocalyptic. I let the radio gab in the background and drove my friend to the newsroom, where producers promptly put her on air. A native Russian, she translated the living suspect’s social media page, summarized Slavic news coverage, and kept me company. Everyone was so thankful, and anchors and producers told me I’d done great work…

Me? I’d brought in a girlfriend. But then I kind of realized that that’s what journalism is: It’s networking and pooling resources, sharing knowledge—and I’d helped that process. With her knowledge and my journalistic intuition, we were able to pull relevant information that helped our viewers contextualize the situation.

If I’ve ever had a doubt in my mind whether I loved journalism or not—and we all know I have because it’s been on this blog—it was dispersed on Friday. In a sad way, that fiery, crazed mess of a newsroom was everything that makes me love journalism. Every scoop is a race, and even when I lost, I just kept running.

Hours later, I stumbled into AB’s apartment, crumpled onto appropriately named “Fancy Couch,” and fell asleep to the familiar sounds of on-air ad-libbing. I woke up to the 6 p.m. newser wherein officials basically said “We have no leads and can’t keep people contained anymore.”

When I woke up next, he’d been caught. Continue reading

Ventfest: My Future (and the Lack Thereof)

Image from Blogging Belmont

There’s been a lot of turnover at The Globe. Mostly, it’s people leaving for other papers or publications, usually for the benefit of their families (more money, less time commitment). But people leave for months at a time on book leave as well. There’s something incredibly disorienting about it, and not necessarily because people are leaving, but because they’re not being replaced. The Globe has gone trough hard times in the past, cutting back on labor and laying off hundreds (thousands?) of people. They rely more on freelance work than ever (cheaper because they don’t have to pay medical benefits) and are replacing local voices with wire stories.

To say it’s a difficult time for the journalism industry is the understatement of the decade. Journalism as we know it is dying. And I used to take that to mean just that journalism is changing, morphing with the incorporation of social media and tablets and apps and blogs (Oh, heyyy). But the last couple days–heck weeks–have been disheartening. And honestly, I’m a little bit scared for my future and well being. I’ve already survived on peanut butter and honey before, and I would prefer not to do it again.

They other day, a colleague approached my coworker-slash-friend and asked her if she was still thinking about going into journalism (presumably after having seen the turmoil in the office). “Get out now while you can,” he said. Continue reading

Eeaazzyy Livin’

“Summertimeee and the livin’ is eeaazzyy..”

Oh what a fantastic summer this has been. In a recent conversation with my mother, I said that my life is defined by my summers. I always have fantastic vacations, learning opportunities and personal growth. Honestly, I think oftentimes, I learn more during my free, lazy summers than I ever could in a classroom. Summers are necessary for personal health and everyone should take 3 month breaks from the rest of your life. It gives you a mini sobatical to reevaluate who you are, where you are and where you’re going.

A brief summary of my past few summers…

2005: Hiked the Grand Canyon, learned field hockey, started high school

2006: Read a record number of books

2007: Spent the summer at Brown University, began to establish my opinions and political views, decided I wanted to be a writer

2008: Went to Cancun, bonded with family, saw baby turtles

2009: graduated high school, experimented with religions, learned love

And then there’s this glorious summer. I had even more time this year to play around and learn the ins and outs of myself. But regardless of the extra time, every moment was important and served me.

This wonderful summer, I finished my first year of college, I dragged myself around Europe and fell in love with Paris. I grew closer with my mother and father on two separate, but equally wonderful trips. This summer, I turned 18 and walked on 1600 degree hot coals. I realized that sometimes the heart doesn’t break because its stronger than I am. This wonderful summer, I embarked on a commited love affair with myself and learned the empowerment that can come from honoring that relationship. This summer, I literally tackled fears and weaknesses and taught my baby brother a little about what I call “crazy love.” I watched my writing get bashed on public blogs and had bylines butchered (which sucked). However, I also was reminded of just how powerful words are when mine, however brutal, made an international celebrity throw a hissy fit. This summer, I realized that I have a huge family and that “home” is a concept that I can carry with me, rather than a physical place. I wrote tons of letters and dared to wonder “what if…” This summer, I chopped some bangs and created a new, polished look for myself. I set my sights on law school and have renewed my commitment to myself.

Thank goodness for summers and for the lessons they teach us. And here’s to a wonderful sophomore year. Already, my schedule is filling up with Kappa recruitment, newspaper budget meetings (I’m inside editor!) and jobs in the Journalism lab. There are clubs and commitments and fun and festivities and I’m so thrilled to back in the mess. No one ever crooned that fall semester livin’ is “eeaazzyy,” but its sure to be a stress-and-fun filled 3 months. Can’t wait!

Poem: Ode to my morning paper

Here’s to you, old friend.
Here’s to our mornings together
	Latte in hand, feet propped, reading.
Here’s to my black-stained hands, my saliva fingers,
	Evidence of our daily love affair.
Here’s to the quick, finite snip of scissors,
	My sad, hopeless attempt to keep you with me a little while longer,
	Or to shyly share you with others.
	You don’t mind, do you?
Here’s to your limp, lifeless form.
	Your words, so timely when I read them, are never timeless
	And they yellow and fade with age.
	Only archives can save you now.
Oh, you.
	You bring life to the dead and left-wing truth to the people.
Biased you!
	I read between your lines.
	I made you.
	I know.
But I don't mind,
	Like it even.
        We look at each other and share knowing smirks.
Here’s to us, good friend,
And our happy future together.