September 21, 2007

Reporting New York

My Dad had one request when he found out I was moving to New York: stay out of the Bronx.

I agreed, not really thinking about any place other than Brooklyn Heights, where my apartment is located. However, I've disobeyed him on many occasions, but for a good cause -- my education.

My beat for the next semester is Highbridge in the Bronx. Though Highbridge is sometimes rough around the edges, I'm finding connections and tons of potential stories among the lifelong residents, fresh immigrants and gentry moving into the area for less expensive, yet quickly skyrocketing rents.

I'm getting used to the stares and questioning glances again. Reporting in New York is like nothing I've experienced, though. I feel better when I'm doing print stories because there's only my notebook and purse to worry about, but when the camera equipment comes out on assignment, I'm constantly on red alert, watching everyone as intently as they're watching me. And while I'm trying to befriend subjects and earn their trust, I'm constantly aware that I am where I am and that I'm, technically, on my own.

The other day, for example, I headed out to Highbridge with the camera case, filled with cables, microphones, and a camera worth more than my debt from Seton Hill. A few people eyed me on the street, laying out the equipment for use, and I just sighed. If someone is going to rob me, then it's going to be in the line of duty, for goodness sake!

But I've been treated well in Highbridge. When I was filming last week, a man started asking me questions and introduced me to the Highbridge Community Life Center staff. I can't say enough about their kindness and willingness to share their stories.

My Dad, though hesitant to accept my neighborhood beat, is learning to understand. A journalist's journey is to face fears, not only their own, but those of the audience they serve.


Posted by Amanda Cochran at September 21, 2007 9:36 PM | TrackBack
Comments

More than your SHU debt? That really puts things into perspective...

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 22, 2007 10:37 AM
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