When I arrived at the newsroom in the morning, usually there were many people already working. But that particular day the room was almost empty. A lot of my colleagues were working out, in a building just a block away. A princess had come to preside the inauguration of a hospital. A big social event for our city. several journalists and photo reporters were there taking notes and pictures to fill several pages for the next day. I wasn’t among the chosen ones for the big news. So I was there guarding, just in case something else happened, knowing that whatever I would write, would remain hidden under tons of information about the social event of the day.
Suddenly, one of the photo reporters came hurriedly and entered the editor’s office without knocking the door. He told him something and the editor called me nervously and simply told me: Go with Xavier. He will explain.
I grabbed my pad and my recorder and followed him. We climbed in his car and he began to drive as fast as he could.
– I was in the ceremony with the princess, next to the Governor taking photos – he told me – and I overheard a secret policeman telling him that there has been a terrorist attack in a canyon near a village some 30 kilometres from here and it seems there is someone dead.
So there we went. We were the first ones on the scene. The police had a car with their radio very loud, so I could take notes of all the operation live. They didn’t let us pass into the canyon at first. It was too dangerous.
The terrorists were on the loose. They have killed one policeman and wounded another and fled running by the banks of the river. The police immediately had closed both exits of the canyon and had they trapped. Later they let us go into the canyon to take photos of the scene of the crime. The story was really terrible. The terrorists, four of them, decided to commit suicide rather than let themselves be caught.
I was deeply impressed because the policeman’s widow was my age: 28. I only could think about her, losing a husband so young, so suddenly, and so tragically.
My story made front page instead of the one about the princess and her inauguration ceremony, but I certainly would preferred a quiet day.
My newspaper was proud of me. I had done a good job. But I wasn’t feeling well. I was sad and angry.