Day 8 – Here at Mosaic, our only drug is breaking news

Alam Skandar, 39, descended from the 90 ft crane at around 10:30 a.m. after a 14-hour standoff with the SJPD. (Photo by Steven Barajas, Mosaic Staff Photographer)

Alam Skandar, 39, descended from the 90 ft crane at around 10:30 a.m. after a 14-hour standoff with the SJPD. // Photo by Steven Barajas, Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Matt Pinkney, Mosaic Staff Writer

I think I’ve finally come down from my buzz.  Don’t worry.  Mosaic isn’t some sketchy organization letting kids get strange drugs from weird people in downtown San Jose.

No, here at Mosaic, our only drug is breaking news.  And I got my first taste today.

I had just rolled out of bed about ten minutes earlier when I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize.  I picked up the phone.  It turned out to be Robert, one of our editors.  He told me to find a photographer and get over to City Hall as soon as we could.  It was kind of hard to make him out (dorms don’t have the best reception), but I could gather something about a guy in a high place by City Hall and that I needed to be there now.  I threw on some clothes and David and I rushed over to the corner of 6th and Santa Clara as fast as we could.

When we got there, there were camera crews and reporters from all the local stations.  Video cameras were pointed into the sky, a few reporters talked with colleagues and photographers moved along the corner trying to get pictures.

One of our editors, Karl, introduced us to some of his colleagues from the Mercury News.  We got the full story as the reporters knew it: a homeless man had climbed up into a crane on a construction sight and had been there for twelve hours.  Police had blocked off some of the streets and were trying to get him to come down.

As we got filled in, David got a lot of pictures of the guy in the crane.  I mostly observed what was going on, both up in the crane and down on the ground.  I had never seen one TV news crew so close up, let alone four or five like were situated on this corner.  It was interesting to see everyone so comfortable around each other.  I guess I hadn’t expected professional journalists to be so friendly, especially in TV.

After a while, David and I took a walk around the section the cops had blocked off.  We heard the man shout something down at the cops, we saw people looking up at the crane and talk amongst themselves, and we saw people going about their day normally as if nothing had changed.

For a while, it looked like nothing would change.  Then the man came out of the cab and started walking along the crane.  David scrambled to get into a good position for pictures.  I gripped my notebook tight.  My heart was in my throat.  I was nervous about what could happen.

Thankfully, he went back into the cab, unhurt.  We walked back to where the reporters stood and met up with Steven, Hannah and Brian.  I talked to some more people while all three photographers took their shots.

We were standing far away from the other reporters when he started to come down from the crane.  We had the perfect shot, too, framed by the construction and some of the surrounding buildings.  As soon as he was down, we ran over to the police line where they were loading him into the police car.  We didn’t get great shots as he drove away, unfortunately.
When we finally walked back to the newsroom, I was still pumped.  I felt like a real journalist, getting a story that was happening now.  It was an amazing thrill and I’m so incredibly glad to have had this experience.


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