Thursday, November 15, 2007

"You Make Me Sick."

It started off benign enough.

“West Bay,” I said into the phone. “Talia Buford speaking.”

“Yeah, I was reading your article on Wednesday,” said the caller.

“Which one?”

“The one on Payette,” he said.

I scroll through our archives and pull it up. A West Warwick man was arrested in connection with the stabbing death of another man the weekend in my community. I did the second day story, covered the arraignment and also spoke to Payette's sister, who said the system failed her brother.

I prompt the caller to continue.

“It’s reporters like you who give the ACI (the state corrections system) a bad name. He’s scumb. He woulda killed you if you looked at him funny. I knew the guy. And you talk to his low-life sister? Give him a job. The best thing that could happen to this guy is to give him the gas chamber. You make me sick. Why don’t you report the truth for once?”

Then he hangs up.

I sat there silent for a few seconds before hanging up the phone. The sigh that escaped from my lips had to be covered in frustration and hurt.

The voice from over the cubicle says quietly: “Talia, are you okay?”

I tell my coworker I’m fine. And I go back to work.

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Posted by T Dot at 2:16 PM | link

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You did exactly right to let it roll off your back.
And if this caller was so cool with the dude, what does that say about him?

Posted by Blogger Vdizzle @ 4:34 PM, November 16, 2007 #

"Reporters like you"? What does that mean? Reporters who do their job? Reporters in Rhode Island? Reporters who wear natural hair? Seriously, what is he getting at here?

It's frustrating, I know. But as long as you know you're doing what you're supposed to be doing (and as long as we got your back), you're good as gold, homie.


Posted by Blogger Duck @ 2:36 AM, November 19, 2007 #

"Why don’t you report the truth for once?"

I find this insanely ironic after reading your story, because this is exactly what you did, you didn't gloss over anything, every detail of this guy's past was included. The sister was key because she reminded people that he was human, that he was someone's brother. You could have gotten a million quotes from people calling this guy a monster, but you didn't, you found a family member who explained that there might be some kind of explanation for the way he is like he is.

There, my 2 cents, let me know if "Caller Guy" gets back to you, tell him you have a friend in Guatemala who "knows people" =)

Posted by Blogger jlbonner @ 9:00 PM, November 19, 2007 #

You can't please them all.

Posted by Blogger Epsilonicus @ 1:15 AM, November 20, 2007 #
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