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Event of 9/11 brought me back to journalism career

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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The coverage that came out of the terrorist attacks on our country influenced me as a journalist. I started in the media in 1998 as a television news photographer and got a real thrill capturing firefighters knocking down flames, meeting public figures shaping history or even the high school football team’s win. But I became disenchanted by the breakneck pace and the lack of remuneration. It began to feel like just a job. At the time of the terrorist attacks, I had left journalism and was working for an accounting firm. That morning when the war on terror hit U.S. soil, I found myself hovering around the office’s only boom box with a dozen of my co-workers using my radio-induced imagination, listening as the towers fell. Eventually, the office was closed down and everyone went home. At home, helpless and bemused, I watched hours of coverage of that fateful day. As I watched, I realized the media was empowering the viewers, compelling the nation to act and confronting the powerful with tough questions. The simple questions of who and why became complicated. After that, I heard about journalists being embedded with the U.S. military forces in Iraq searching for weapons of mass destruction that never materialized. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 142 journalists were killed covering the war. I started to realize that journalists are patriotic individuals. The freedom of the press is constitutionally protected, in my opinion, because it was those curbside pamphlets on tyranny and taxation that helped spawn the American Revolution. It was something I had forgotten. Being there, involved and asking questions is something that I needed to do. As a correspondent for the Placer Herald, I’m not following American heroes into battle, but I can immortalize their stories when they return home.. I’m not a redshirt gumshoe paragrapher yearning for employment with the Washington Post. Rather, I’m here in my town listening and asking questions — fulfilling our right to know so that we all can benefit. I didn’t think about that before 9/11, but I do now.