In 1997, after four years behind the scenes as an assignment editor, writer and producer at a television station in Seattle, I headed off to Medford, Oregon to try my hand at reporting.
It was a small market (#138 out of 210 then, now #140) that was a stepping stone for most young news hounds who passed through, but we had the great fortune to work with grizzled veterans who made the Rogue Valley home and who thankfully never tired of showing the newest ones through the door how to research, interview, shoot, write, edit and finally, report and produce the news.
The station I worked for at the time recently did a retrospective of the top 25 stories of the past 25 years. One of the stories I covered made the cut: a huge fire at a mill that left dozens of local workers jobless in an area that didn't have a lot of good paying options.
At the time, I was excited to get the call from our assignment desk that as the on-call reporter, I had to go cover what initially seemed like a just a fire at a lumber mill.
Smelling smoke and seeing the orange glow in the sky from miles away as I drove to the scene, I knew it was more than just a big fire and I hoped I could get all the video and interviews necessary to properly chronicle the event.