My first week at the Sooke News Mirror has just come to a close, and I’m simply going to ramble in this post about my impressions so far of being a newspaper reporter. Relocating from Richmond to Sooke has actually been quite a change for me because while being born and raised on the island, my previous experiences in this little town (or district, as I learned it’s officially called) consisted of little more than spirited night-time drives and sitting around a beach fire at Whiffin Spit.
My initial assignment on the job was to get acquainted with the town. The editor Pirjo Raits marked down a few landmarks on a map, and told me to grab my camera and drive to each one and take advantage of any newsworthy photo-ops. On a Wednesday summer morning I drove all the way to Jordan River hoping to catch some surfers but, alas, I barely saw a soul. I ended up shooting mostly nature shots:
On they way up to the Sooke Pot Holes. Surprisingly, I’ve never been. I stopped my car when I saw this picturesque waterfall — it looked better in real life.
The beach at Jordan River. Desolate.
The tide was out, revealing a rocky landscape.
Boats out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Day two wasn’t much more eventful. Working at a paper in a small community means you write a lot about, well, the community. The first story I filed was about the debut of a local outdoor film festival, with the proceeds going to charity. The next article was a teaser about an up-and-coming “super” medical clinic in town, where all six physicians were joining together to work under on roof. Also, a fellow had set up on the lawn right outside our office to promote anti-HST’ism. I chatted with him briefly, and listened to not only his qualms about the Harmonized Sales Tax, but also his disdain for BC Transit.
So all in all, the first couple days weren’t exactly investigative journalism — but Friday proved to be more exciting. Not long after I came into work that day, a call came through the emergency scanner about a car that rolled over on Sooke Road, a few kilometers from our location. My boss glanced over with a look that said “go!” and I ran out to the car to get to the scene ASAP, fortunately not before remembering to ask for directions (never has there been born a person with a worse sense of direction than I).
After a few minutes of driving, I still hadn’t seen any indication of an accident. I pulled over to the side of the road to call the office, when I heard ambulance sirens wailing behind me. I waited for it to fly past me and I tore off in pursuit. Soon after I saw police cars, medics and firefighters on scene.
I interviewed a witness that was working nearby when the accident happened. He said he heard a loud noise and looked up, and saw a car crashing through the trees and landing upside down on an embankment below. The driver was a young man who made it out with nothing more than a bleeding arm from what I could see. Most amazing of all, however, was that the witness said there was also a baby in the car that he saw the man take into his arms and proceed to climb back up the hill to safety. The baby was all smiles and without a hair out of place.
After the man and baby were taken to the hospital, I spoke with RCMP who told me the man had “an unsecured load” in the passenger seat that caused him to go offroad and subsequently flip his car. How he or his passenger wasn’t severly injured is inexplicable, but of course is good news. Unfortunately the pictures I took of the accident scene are on the work computer.
That’s it for now… stay tuned for more live (sort of) news from Sooke!