It’s been a terribly sad week, with the Boston Marathon bombing and the horrific explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas. One is definitely a terror attack, the other is not believed to be criminal but they are looking at all options.
In the Marathon bombing, there have been numerous ‘stories’ that have not been panned out since the very beginning. In a world of instant gratification, reporters are quick to break ‘news’ that is later retracted. The NY Post had 12 people dead within hours of the attack. CNN broke that an arrest was imminent, and other networks followed suit. Is it bad reporting, or are there investigative sources that are purposely disseminating false information to advance the probe?
One thing is clear. The Boston Marathon finish line was probably one of the ‘most photographed’ events going on in the world Monday afternoon. Between security cameras, television coverage cameras, cellphone cameras and other media photographers, that area was covered in some way every minute of that race. There have been reports of a number of ‘suspicious’ people in the crowd. If suspicion means carrying a backpack, the investigators have their work cut out for them.
There is no shortage of online sleuths trying to crack the case themselves. The New York Post has plastered a photo on their pages and their online site of two people they claim investigators want to talk to.
I can’t help but keep thinking about that photo of a suspicious looking item near the edge of the curb where many onlookers were gathered near the finish line. That area was decimated by one of the bombs. If that package was indeed the bomb, how did NONE of the police and security officials notice that? Did any of the onlookers find it out of the ordinary or question its existence? If they did, would they, like Richard Jewel, be suspected of putting it there?
So many questions, hopefully we’ll get answers and justice will be done. I’m okay with investigators taking their time and making sure they get the right person or persons responsible. Let this be a wakeup call that we should maintain our vigilance and not be hesitant to speak up if something doesn't look right.
Last week the WILK family said goodbye to Paula Deignan. As the afternoon news anchor I always knew that the stories she reported on would be fair, accurate and delivered in the professional and friendly way she has always had. This is the second time Paula and I parted. Paula was my first radio boss, hiring me part time to run ‘the board’ at WWDL in Scranton back in 1988.
I was a Marywood College (now University) student, with a desire for the bright lights of television. Back then, to get into tv news, you started working in radio.
After months of loading the reel to reels each hour, and putting ABC commercials and weather on carts, Paula let me try out doing the news. When Jean Wilding had the day off, or a week of vacation, I got to do the news. I can still remember leaving the studio after recording the news, and Paula chuckled when she nicely told me I didn’t have to talk so loudly. It’s a common broadcast 101 problem for young deejay/reporter wannabe’s- you don’t need to yell into the mic.
Then one morning I got a call which was really a wake up call. There was a horrible crime that happened in Scranton that was too close to home for me in many ways. A fellow Marywood student was killed after getting off the bus in the East Mountain area of Scranton. Deborah Lucke was shot and killed on a winter afternoon. Many young women on campus were horrified and shocked. I can’t remember exactly who had called me, but WWDL needed to be at a news conference that morning where it was believed that an arrest was being made in the case. I went to the station to get the equipment, and headed for the story.
Back in those days, the late 80’s, almost every radio station had a news department. There were as many radio reporters as tv, if not more. I remember feeling all kinds of conflicting emotions. My first big story, a young woman found dead who I could completely identify with, my heart broken for her family. Would I get it right? Would I forget to hit record on the cassette record? It was overwhelming.
In the end, I got the story. A neighbor, Nicholas Trubia, admitted to killing Lucke and then sexually assaulting her. I remember the flash of cameras, reporters peppering law enforcement with questions. I might not have known exactly what I was doing, but I was able to muddle my way through it. It was the first in many big stories I got to cover.
There’s no more WWDL now, the owner having himself become a big news story that we ended up covering here at WILK. For where I am today, I thank Paula Deignan for giving a young woman at Marywood a chance at broadcasting. Good luck Paula, and I’m not ruling out that our paths will cross once again.