Missing People

As a town or beat reporter, you’ll notice that people go missing quite frequently.

Some cases are more urgent than others, but there are always people that go missing.

I’m not going to talk about the reasons regarding why people go missing, but, rather, how I’ve covered them at the Chronicle.

To start, I recently found out that there isn’t a time-limit for people to be missing before anyone can call the police.

A dispatcher in one of my towns told me this, adding it doesn’t matter how long or for what reason. A missing person is a missing person.

My editors and I have questioned the timelines for missing people because we assumed there was a 24-hour limit before someone could be reported missing.

We were wrong. Our assumption never affected our coverage of missing people. Instead, it added to our knowledge of what we cover on, what seems, like a daily basis.

With each missing person, we, at first, do a brief and call the police department in charge and inquire about what’s going on.

Most of the time the person is found before we go to print. Sometimes they aren’t and we continue to provide updates on the missing person.

It’s not rocket science and the briefs are just a regurgitation of the press releases. It’s pretty straight forward and doesn’t take much time at all.

At times, you can have more than one missing person. It’s not fun and it’s easy to lose track of who has been found and who’s still missing.

There have even been times when the police departments themselves don’t even know if the person has been found yet.

Missing people represent just a fraction of what you could be writing, but it’s certainly important to know what’s in front of you.

Jonathan

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