I think it’s probably pretty needless to say that the last few days have been rather hectic to be a journalist.
The mass shooting that happened Sunday in Las Vegas was a truly horrific event that frankly threw everything for a loop. The most recent estimates for what I was working with last night were saying that at least 59 have been killed and at least 527 were injured in the attack.
It’s honestly still unfathomable to me that one person could do that much. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the sheer number of people that were directly affected.
On top of that, the old adage of “everybody knows somebody” when it comes to these kinds of events has never rung more true for me than it has now. Me, my co-editor Brandon and a few other members of the Daily Titan have been covering the story the last couple of days (which has been a hectic enough time to hopefully explain why I’m lumping these two article posts into one) and we’re gathering more and more stories of people here in Orange County and at CSUF that were involved in one way or another.
I’ll admit it has been a bit harrowing and, frankly, quite disheartening to be barraged by all these details via work and in just about every form of media relentlessly over the last couple of days. Yet… At the same time, I can’t say I remember the last time I’ve been this proud of the work I’ve been doing.
The night of the shooting, while only a few of us were left in the newsroom wrapping up production, news started to trickle out of Las Vegas. At first we weren’t sure we were going to do anything about it, since there was lots of confusion about exactly what was going on as the Route 91 Harvest festival quickly broke apart. However, once we saw just how big the story was becoming, we knew we had to add something to our front page for our readers to be informed.
We wound up staying until 3:00 a.m. or so to finish that front page banner. Though Brandon, our copy editor Kyle, our managing editor Harrison and myself were working on compiling everything we could that was confirmable for some time leading up to then, the real linchpin we wanted was the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department media briefing that was going to give us as much up-to-date information as we could before we had no more leeway to let the printer extend our deadline.
That meeting was originally scheduled to happen at 12:45 a.m. It wound up happening closer to 1:45 a.m.
Granted it did give us the treasure trove of everything we needed to put a solid piece together, but it still kept us rather late. I can’t really say I’m complaining about it, however. Sure I was tired for class and I’m still pretty tired today, but being able to get that breaking news on the front page was an awesome feeling, and I really felt like I’m working with some of the best people in the business more than ever before.
Then the next day we did a follow-up piece on the shooting, extrapolating on CSUF President Mildred Garcia’s statement about members of the Titan community being present at the concert to write something about people who were there.
Alright, to be completely accurate about it, technically that’s more what Brandon wrote for our front page today. Originally that was also going to include a portion about the campus police department and how prepared they are to deal with active shooter situations. But we wound up having so much information that we split those into two separate articles, with me mostly writing the campus police story. We did both give each other contributing lines in our respective stories, though, since we helped each other gather the information together.
I think both articles turned out great, as his packed a serious emotional punch with first-hand accounts from a student about what it was like to be at the shooting while mine was an informative and, hopefully, comforting piece about the fact that these are things our officers have thought of and are prepared to deal with. They went together under a single banner framed by a picture of the flags on campus at half mast, and I’d say they really made a great package.
Plus, I personally found it a little funny that the story I wrote feels like a callback to my first big front page article for the Daily Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.
Funny in as much as something can be considering the subject matter, of course.
If you want to read these articles in their entirety, and I recommend it for some of the powerful stuff we’ve pulled together – even if I’m sure everyone’s rather worn down on the subject by now – you can check them out here:
- Initial Las Vegas shooting breaking news
- My article on campus police preparedness
- Brandon’s article on those present at the shooting
You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right.
I’m sure there’s going to be more to come as far as covering the aftermath of Las Vegas goes, so be sure stick around if you want to see more coming down the pipeline.