Bethany Bruner covers public safety and crime for The Columbus Dispatch
Why I became a journalist
I have always enjoyed writing but originally thought of journalism as a backup plan to becoming a lawyer.
My mom basically forced me to get involved with my hometown newspaper, which had a page on Sundays that was written by area high schoolers, and I really started to enjoy it. One of the reporters there who oversaw us amateurs really encouraged me too.
As I got involved with my college newspaper (The Miami Student at Miami University) I really started seeing it as my future career.
What I like best about my job
I enjoy the combination of doing the same thing every day but never having the same exact day twice. I also work with some really great people who make this job not feel like a job.
A story I have worked on that has had a lasting impact on me
A lot of stories that I’ve done have had an impact on me, but the ones that stick out most involve the family members I talk to who have lost loved ones. I think about them all the time and hope they have found peace and comfort.
One story in particular came when I was working in Newark, Ohio. A 2-year-old girl was badly injured by her mother’s boyfriend the week before Christmas. She was in the hospital and originally, nobody thought she would survive. It was a heartbreaking situation to have happen anytime, but made even worse because it happened at a time of year when kids are supposed to be happy and excited, not lying unconscious in a hospital bed.
That young girl is someone I think about often. She’s recovering but will have permanent damage and challenges in her life because of what happened.
What is the biggest challenge I face?
From a practical standpoint, the biggest challenge is how much news can happen in a single day and balancing being accurate while still getting information to our readers fast.
Emotionally and mentally, the hardest part is talking to people who are grieving and not becoming overwhelmed by what I see on a regular basis. Most of the time, I’m talking to people on the worst day of their life or asking them to talk about the worst day of their life. Being able to compartmentalize what I’m doing as my job is a challenge, for sure.
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What I like to do when I’m not working
One of my favorite things to do is read. There’s nothing like a good book to distract you! I also like to find something to stream on Netflix, watch my favorite team, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, play every chance I get and spend time with my friends and family.
Favorite event or central Ohio tradition
How can you pick just one? (Although if I had to pick, I’d probably choose the Food Truck Festival because you get to try a lot of types of food in one place.)
I grew up in Clark County, so one of my favorite traditions growing up was going to see the Christmas lights at Clifton Mill.
Why journalism matters
The more we know about the community we live in, the better off the community is. Staying informed about more than just the corner of the city we live in helps us all be better citizens of Columbus.
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