“Press conference starts in five,” my coworker shouts over the din to the rest of my team. A police chief is about to take to a podium to talk about the boy who’s just shot five students, killing one of them and himself in the process. While the press conference is happening, Twitter starts exploding with news that a high profile case about a missing girl has come to an end because her remains have been found. Half a minute later, there’s alerts that three officers have been shot in California. Some might call this a stressful day. My team calls it Friday.
At the beginning of this year, I concluded my very first year as a crime (and weird news!) editor. I won’t lie to you, I’m not nearly as impressive as my teammates. My job is primarily social media based and my coverage of crime news is wholly useless without them. Many members of my team are reporters who find comfort in the chaos down at crime scenes or in the thick tension of a court room. Others are editors with the uncanny ability to go to most any length to get to the truth of a story. I never intended to work in crime news, certainly not for lack of interest, but rather an egregious lack of awareness.
When I started last January, I was like most people my age when it came to crime news. I knew the big stories – the Amanda Knoxs, Ariel Castros, and the BTKs of the world. But, as is true with most things, you never realize what you’re not seeing until you’re in the thick of it. I had never realized exactly how much of the world’s evil and general insanity that I had shielded myself from until I was all but consumed by it. Every single day I found – and still find – myself talking and reading about murder, rape, school shootings, missing persons, and more than you could ever possibly imagine that falls within and beyond those boundaries. It wasn’t until recently that I had that moment where I said to myself, “Have I really been that oblivious to this all along?”