Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Papers Rush to Cover Wreck

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Papers Rush to Cover Wreck

Article excerpt

Jackson is a freelance writer based in Elmhurst, Ill. He formerly wrote for the Kankakee Daily Journal, as well as various other newspapers. He may be contacted at DaveJ@Reporters.net.

Kankakee Daily Journal distinguishes itself with extra

Bob Themer, Town and Country editor for the afternoon Kankakee, Ill., Daily Journal, was readying for bed last Monday night when a TV news bulletin sent him scrambling for his work's phone directory. After seeing the story about the "City of New Orleans" Amtrak train derailment on a Chicago TV news station just after 10 p.m., Themer sent writer/photographer Bill Burns to the scene. Themer headed to the two area hospitals to take pictures of victims and of the staff waiting to respond.

Burns says he was at the scene for about seven hours, noting "a really eerie orange glow that filled the sky from the fire." When he first arrived. Burns says officials kept the media at a distance while trying to battle a blaze in the train's sleeper car.

Over the past few years. Bums says, the county has staged mock disaster drills. which helped at the wreckage. "They kept us at a distance," he says, "but they didn't try to stop us from getting things done. It was a very good relationship in that regard."

Phil Angelo, managing editor at the Journal, says countless hours, at this point, have been devoted to covering the story.

"We're constantly trying to assign stories right now," Angelo says. "We come in each morning and look at what we have done. We've used everyone in the city, area staff and features staff, and today we had the sports editor dummying Amtrak pages. …

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