Access: unappreciated but awesome

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I complain too much.

The last couple weeks, I’ve been all bummed about the newspaper industry dying, and all of the accompanying inconveniences for journalists. Stuff like getting paid less and working harder and not getting decent equipment. Cry me a river.

I always forget that one of the best benefits of all is free.

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It’s not every day that you can stand in the middle of a deserted interstate and shoot artsy photos. (HDR by the way, day two of new hobby)

Even parking on the interstate is usually out of the question.

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Other drivers are slowing down to rubberneck, but thirty minutes earlier, I jumped in my car specifically to drive to Milton and see what was going on. Somehow, a notepad and a camera qualify me for pulling onto the median, getting out of my car, and snooping around the scene of an accident.

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As I get closer, a firefighter comes running toward me. I’m almost shocked. “Is he going to tell me to leave?” I start to prepare my verbal objection.

But it was a false alarm. He just wanted to give me a reflective vest so I would be safe. “Thanks man!” He walks me toward the wreck, and excitedly tells me how he was coincidentally right ahead of the truck when it crashed. He saw it in his rear-view mirror and was the first to call it in, and the first on the scene (about 30 seconds after the crash).

He was stoked. And his enthusiasm was contagious. And the wreck was REALLY cool.

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By the time I took this photo, it had completely blocked the interstate for more than an hour. It was a major mess. The driver was alright, but the DOT cleanup guys had their work cut out for them.

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Clad in my neon orange vest (which said “fire” on it, btw) I walked around for about thirty minutes talking to the highway patrolmen, the firefighters, the cleanup guys, and several of the drivers impatiently waiting to get on their way.

Even though the drivers were pretty disgruntled about the delay, all that I spoke with admitted that it was a pretty cool wreck.

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So, after I had all my notes squared away, and a couple dozen photos shot, I climbed back into my car, busted a U-turn in the median, and enjoyed a dozen or so miles of deserted Interstate on the drive back to Pensacola.

I’ve got to admit, even though the money is bad, the job security is non-existent, and the industry resembles a derailing freight train, being a journalist is a really cool job.

I need to stop complaining.

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