Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lindsay Beyerstein: Blogging a disaster

Lindsay Beyerstein ("Majikthise"), a blogger who went down to the Gulf coast to have a look for herself, shares another Katrina story. This one illustrates the difference between voyeurism and reporting:
We got out of the car to photograph the markings on this house where we found the dead body floating near the lamp post earlier in the week. Notice the open door in right side of the image.

I was stepping back for a wider shot when our companion (who shall remain nameless) announced that she was going inside. Bob and I tried to discourage her, but she ran in anyway.

'Spot me!' she yelled as she disappeared into the moldy gloom, 'I'm moving furniture.'

This put me in an very awkward position. I couldn't just leave her in there, but I really didn't want to go inside. I heard scraping and thumping. She really was moving furniture! It occurred to me that she was also wearing shorts. I tried to think if we had a snakebite kit in the car. [...]

Suddenly Bob started honking the horn furiously.

She sighed and said, "If you're not comfortable with this, I don't expect you to be here."

She didn't have to tell me twice. It was no longer my problem.

Now I just had to walk back through the house and out the door. I was scared because I couldn't figure out why Bob kept honking like that. Was he trying to warn us to stay out of sight? Were there cops or soldiers outside? I stood absolutely still in the foyer, trying to peer out the door without drawing attention to myself. After a few seconds, I made a break for it.

As soon as I got out the door, I saw what was worrying Bob. A huge feral dog was growling and circling erratically in the front yard. We'd seen this dog before, several blocks away and he seemed to have followed us here. Bob carefully drove between me and the dog so that I could jump into the passenger's seat.
The post also features tips for would-be freelance journalist/bloggers in the 21st century.

Click here for other Beyerstein/team Majikthise stories on this blog.


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