a bit of grace

The random musings of Kate Grace

From the Archives: The Beat Goes On

(Originally dated Tuesday, September 26, 2006 a week into the Journalism Master’s Program at Columbia University, a week into living in New York City, and a week into learning how to be a reporter working a “beat”.)

I’m not in Kansas anymore, and someone shot Toto.

I was covering a community event in the Rockaways where teens came out to pick up garbage from the beach. While taking a break and eating their brown bag lunches, I approached a group of teens in search of that colorful quote to add a bit of humor to the assignment.

“What’s the weirdest thing you picked up today?” 

There were answers I was hoping for. Maybe a pair of underwear (which ended up on the list) or a dead animal (which many showed up on the list). Even the revelation of a condom find would make for a fun lead if the group reacted to the news with cries of disgust or laughter.

One girl, 15, looked at me with an expression that suggested I would be dissappointed by her response. “I found a shot gun. Does that count as weird?”

I felt my eyes as they widened peaking out from behind my sun glasses. I looked around and realized I was the only one shaken. All the other teens either admitted to the various weapons they had found as if they were gum wrappers or continued with their lunches, bored with the conversation.

“Does that count?” The 15-year-old girl was waiting.

“Um,” I said. “Yeah, I think that counts.”

Under her quote in my spiral pad I wrote: “O.M.F.G.”

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2010 by in regular.
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