nick column

COLUMN: Some days, you just need the juice

One of the best things about journalism is being among the first in the know

A few Friday nights ago, I was sitting on my couch in the dark, absent-mindedly flipping channels, not really watching anything in particular.

It was nearly 11 p.m. My wife was asleep, the dog was, too. I was kind of bored, but not tired enough to go to bed myself. Then, scrolling through my Facebook feed on my phone – no need to actually look at the TV when every channel is playing a movie you’ve seen 50 times – I noticed that a number of my neighbours were discussing a loud explosion nearby.

Some people had heard a loud bang; cops were already on the scene, apparently. Someone else heard more sirens approaching.

It was at that point that my reporter instincts kicked in. Sure, it was late, and I don’t live in the same city in which I work – meaning, essentially, that I didn’t technically have a professional obligation to investigate – but I decided to make the 10-minute stroll to see what was going on, anyway.

While I was walking – second-guessing my decision to leave my warm house and comfortable couch – I thought of the many times people have asked me why I decided on a career in journalism, and also why I have stuck with it as long as I have.

I usually tell them I do it for the money and job security. Then, when the laughter dies down, I tell them the real reason: I like to find things out. I like to know things that other people don’t.

There’s an adrenaline factor, too, when something interesting happens – even if it’s late at night on a day off.

Former Peace Arch News editor Lance Peverley once told me that he liked it when news broke on deadline and we’d all have to scramble to get something into that next edition of the paper, even if it meant tearing apart pages and eighty-sixing stories we already had ready to go.

Sure it was stressful, but he liked the buzz.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’d agree – most of the time, I just want things to go smoothly – but I will admit to enjoying the excitement once in awhile. As my friend and former PAN reporter Kristyl Clark often puts it, sometimes you need “the juice.”

It wasn’t always like that for me. Originally, I wanted to become a sports reporter because I liked sports and could write well. It really was that simple.

Of course, when you work at a community newspaper, you don’t ever get to do just one thing, so I’m now conditioned to have vested interests in things that don’t involve a puck or a ball.

Even elections, sometimes (in non-pandemic years, of course).

Turns out, that explosion that captured the attention of my neighbourhood was nothing more than the work of some teenagers who decided to have some pre-Halloween fun by stuffing a garbage can with handfuls of lit firecrackers.

By the time I got there, the street was empty, save for the garbage can in the distance with a hole blown in its side.

When I got back home, my wife, now awake, asked me why I had even bothered to go. I didn’t really have a good answer for her – like I said, I didn’t have to. But I did, because I was curious.

Because something (potentially) exciting was happening.

And because, sometimes, you just need the juice. Even if it’s just a couple of stupid kids with firecrackers.

Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.

Columnjournalism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Surrey RCMP investigating death threat against councillor Hundial

‘On Monday morning I received a threat on messenger that basically said to put a bullet in me,’ Councillor Jack Hundial told the Now-Leader

Surrey City Councillor Linda Annis and her dog Randi (foreground) bring toy donations to Saverio Lattanzio of Surrey Firefighters Association (holding toy) and fellow firefighters. (submitted photo: Pace Group)
Firefighters’ ‘Drive-by toy drive’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau, as SuperChefs cooks up kits

‘It’s been a particularly tough year for so many of our Surrey families’

Fentanyl test strips are designed to work in seconds and give a person a negative or positive sign that fentanyl is present in a substance. It also works with other analogues such as carfentanil. (Photo: ASHLEY WADHWANI)
21 people died of overdoses in Surrey in October

Provincewide, more than five people dying a day from overdoses

Crew works to remove the Toys ‘R’ Us sign from the North Surrey store in late October, in video posted to Facebook by Scott Dombrowski.
Closure of Toys ‘R’ Us store in Surrey a step forward for ‘Georgetown’ development

Video of toy store sign’s removal stirs memories on Facebook group

The City of White Rock is posting signage at popular outdoor public spaces to encourage mask-wearing when social distancing is a challenge. (City of White Rock image)
White Rock encourages mask-wearing at outdoor public spaces

Signage erected in parks and along the waterfront

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Most Read