The more I can get away from what other people in the media are covering, the better I feel about the stories I tell. There are no news cameras and frantic competition for images where I'm shooting now, inside a domestic violence shelter. Just honest communication about what I'm doing, and a working environment where I can be quiet and respectful, and know that when I take a picture, I am welcome to. I want more of that.
I remember once being asked to sit in my car at the site of an accident where three teenagers died, to wait for someone to come and be sad. I don't ever want to do that kind of thing again. I left after ten minutes, ashamed I stayed even that long.
Last year I was assigned to cover a gruesome sex abuse scandal at Miramonte elementary school, in a predominantly Spanish speaking neighborhood of South Los Angeles. In an abundance of caution, the superintendent decided to relocate and replace every single teacher. It was a media circus.
In front of the school news trucks gathered and the anchor practiced her lines and delivery for the evening newscast. I'd never seen a rehearsal like this before. A helicopter crew flew overhead. Down the street I came upon this kindergardener and her mother. I learned a lot about journalism that day.
They ultimately killed the story, but I haven't forgotten these moments.