So I had a spot of media coverage this week after pleading out a relatively high-profile case. The story was covered by the L.A. Times as well as the local paper, The Statesman. A couple of people also heard me on the radio, KLBJ (no link 'cos I can't find the story online).
I'm normally wary of reporters, as we are all here. The assumption seems to be that if the best story involves drama and someone looking bad, well, don't let it be us! And it's true to a degree - the more dramatic and controversial something is, the better the story.
But being a former reporter I feel a little hypocritical if I turn my back on the media. After all, when I covered the court in England I felt like I always reported as accurately as I could, and accurate reporting is easiest when those involved actually speak to you.
So my policy is to think carefully about what I want to say before talking to a reporter. I'm lucky in that my experience with our local man, Steven Kreytak of the Statesman, has been good. It's crucial to be able to trust a reporter, to know that when you say "This is off the record," it doesn't sneak in somehow. And so far (thank you Mr. Kreytak!) he's been 100 percent accurate and trustworthy in all our dealings.
I do think it's important to talk to the press. We handle so many cases, do so much hard work on behalf of the community, but so much of it goes unnoticed. That's a shame because not only do you, the tax payer, deserve to know what we're doing for you, but there are some dashed interesting stories / cases / people circulating the building, every single day.
I was thinking about my first experience with the media, on the receiving end so to speak, and was reminded of it by my brother who shared this clip with me.
That's me in the lion shirt. It was reflective, very very cool. Funny that my brother, now a cop, was wearing a tin star, isn't it? Anyway, the man in the middle was Bob Helmle, my uncle. He grew up a friend of Hemingway, made himself a millionaire by dabbling in stocks from home, and was perhaps the most interesting and intelligent man I've ever met. Knew a lot about butterflies, for some reason.
But the important thing is, and I remember my youthful outrage at the time: I never said anything about having a "jolly good time." Neither of us did. The reporter, clearly, could take a lesson from Mr. Kreytak.
Although it's true, riding that fire engine was amazing. Maybe even more amazing than my super-cool lion shirt.