Behindthescenes look at a crazy day

first_img‘You’re not Paul.”When I arrived at The Columbian early Wednesday morning, that’s the way I was greeted … and for good reason.Dedicated news assistant Mary Ricks needed Paul. And she needed him fast!Paul, by the way, is Paul Suarez. He’s our early-morning reporter, and one of his main duties is to hunt down breaking news to get fresh information on our website.Back in the good ol’ days, when the Internet didn’t exist, newspapers had to worry about only one deadline each day, that being when journalists had to quit reporting so their stories could end up on the printing press. Today, reporters literally have dozens of deadlines. That’s because of the living, breathing, constantly changing Web.But let’s get back to Mary. She is essentially a data gatherer. She goes out and gets all kinds of info from places such as our courthouse. She then grinds that stuff into a usable form so our readers can see it.Mary also sits about 10 feet from our police scanner. It’s constantly blaring stuff about sidewalk slips, domestic issues and assorted miscreants.On occasion, the scanner chatter sounds serious. Very serious. That happened Wednesday morning when Mary heard about a fire in Washougal. Then a few seconds later Mary heard “shots fired.”That was enough for our data gatherer to turn into a first responder on news. Mary needed to track Paul down to make sure he was aware of what was going on.last_img

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