Tag: Journalism

A Runner’s Response to the Boston Marathon Explosions

Boston

Preface: I need to write about this. Bear with me.

I’m a former journalist and television producer. My ears perk up at the words “breaking news,” like a dog who just heard the words “car ride.” This behavior is ingrained in my being.

I am also a runner.

When my husband texted me this afternoon with the news, I was sitting in a session at the Digital Marketing for Business Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center. After I figured it out that it wasn’t some sort of sick joke, my attention span was shot. I should probably apologize to the session speakers because I don’t think I absorbed anything they said. I was too busy wearing down my already dying cell phone battery trying to piece together the story via tweets, news websites, and text messages.

My first reaction — as a runner, and as a human being — was for my heart to sink down into my stomach. Then the journalistic autopilot took over. When the session concluded, this newshound sniffed her way to the nearest television to watch the details unfold live. A mix of adrenaline and shock kept any real feelings at bay.

Then, it started to sink in.

Runners are amazing people. We run through pain, through adversity, through the worst that nature can throw at us. We bond together, support each other, celebrate each other. We raise a whole lot of money for charity. We run to beat ourselves, never to beat down others.

I’ve been running for the better part of my life, and I will likely never see the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Boston runners are elite. Some of them have trained their whole lives for this, and they are the best in the world. Once runners qualify for Boston, no one can ever take that away from them; they become a “Boston Qualifier.” They are making history. The Boston Marathon finish line is the dream.

For me, the more attainable dream is this year’s Chicago Marathon. I’ve battled injury, I’ve sacrificed time and sleep and comfort and money, and I somehow made it through this year’s registration debacle. October 13th is my dream. Now, though, there’s a shadow of uncertainly and fear hovering over it.

I’ve also stood at many a race finish line — many times as a volunteer or supporter. The finish line crowds are full of friends, family, parents, children, runners, fans, and well-wishers of all shapes and sizes. The finish line crowds are full of love and support and positivity.

Any attack on innocent people is unthinkable… But an attack on runners? An attack on the pinnacle of a harmless, incredibly positive sport that brings so much good to the world? Unfathomable.

If I know anything, though, it’s that runners are resilient. They face pain, and they fight through it. They bounce back. How many times have you heard runners proudly complaining about their latest strains, sprains, or mystery ailments? Does that stop them from getting back out on the road? No. We see teams of doctors, plunge into bone-chilling ice baths, and perform self-torture with foam rollers and other bizarre therapeutic devices — all in pursuit of the runner’s high. There are runners who’ve shuffled, limped, and even crawled to the finish line. We don’t quit.

Today we were shaken, but tomorrow we’ll pick each other up, lace up our shoes, and keep running on. My thoughts are with everyone in Boston and all my fellow runners tonight. We’ll get through this. We always do.

Email Newsletter Wins State Government Communications Award

Honorable Mention in Publications: NCAGIO Excellence in Communication Awards 2012

On Friday, September 16, I won the Excellence in Communications Award from the North Carolina Association for Government Information Officers (NCAGIO), during a ceremony at the association’s annual seminar in Chapel Hill. My email newsletter, the N.C. Judicial Center Building Bulletin, took home Honorable Mention (third place) in the Publications Category.

The NCJC Building Bulletin is a monthly email newsletter for employees who work in the N.C. Judicial Center. I’ve been the editor since June.

NCJC Building Bulletin: October 2012

Check out the October issue of the NCJC Building Bulletin

For the awards, the judges reviewed the following three issues of the Building Bulletin:

I am responsible for all newsletter content. Staff members are encouraged to submit story ideas and drafts, but I also create original articles and images. Then, I put all the content into an HTML template, upload the files to an FTP server, and email the newsletter webpage via Outlook. We’re in the process of transitioning to an email newsletter software service that will eliminate all the hand-coding of HTML that I currently do each month.

I put a lot of hard work into the Building Bulletin, and I’m so proud that it was honored by the NCAGIO!

September 11: My First Big Story

September 11, 2001

Today, ten years ago, my life changed… In more than just the obvious ways.

I was a senior in high school. I’d already decided that I wanted to study communications in college and pursue a career in journalism, and I had recently been named editor-in-chief of my high school’s newspaper. September 11, 2001, was supposed to be the day that the newspaper staff stayed late to finalize the very first issue of the school year.

Well, needless to say, we didn’t stay late that day. Instead, all after-school activities were cancelled, and we headed home to watch more horrifying television coverage. We lived close to O’Hare Airport, and the unusual silence in the skies was deafening.

On September 12, I sprang into action — spending the school day interviewing students, re-writing our lead story, and reworking the whole front page of the paper. This was, up until that point, the biggest deadline of my life. It was a huge rush. After this first taste of true journalism, I was hooked! When that issue came off the presses and I saw my byline on the front page, I couldn’t have been more proud.

Today I remember the tragedy, but I am also thankful for the good things and the passion that ultimately came out of it.

© 2019 Jillian Warren

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑