accident reporting

I volunteered for an extra GA shift today and for the first three hours it was wicked slow. (Wicked: aka a Bostonian term that has a range of meanings from “very” to “awesome” depending on its usage. It can also be used with a stream of swear words but we won’t go there…) I guarded the front desk with a fellow reporter and friend, updating our blogs and playing around with the Missourian computer’s photo booth. To see our adventures, click here.

At around 2:45, my ACE Jacob, came over and told me about a massive accident that had happened on U.S. 63. A moment later, the Missourian phone rang — it was a MU journalism professor headed on her way home and had pulled over at the accident site. She was taking photos. This is the first on-site accident I have ever had to report. I donned my highlighter green “Press” vest and went to check it out.

It was cool to talk to the highway patrol troopers and get to see what actually happened instead of just gawk and wonder from the inside of a passing car. I’m glad the professor/photographer was there because she filled me in on what I missed when I was on my way over. Essentially, a red Ford Focus didn’t yield to traffic when trying to cross U.S. 63. I was surprised how courteous the firemen and police officers were. But the trooper was very straightforward when he said to the four press people, including myself, “ok, you have two minutes for questions.”

I think the most important lesson I learned was to be respectful, listen to the officers, and let them talk. We asked them “what happened?” and it was easy from there. Afterward, we politely talked to the two owners of one of the vehicles but they declined.

The good thing about reporting on scene was the people you needed to talk to were right there. There was no calling, hunting down people and wasting time waiting to hear back. What you needed to know was right in front of you.

Check out the accident update here.


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