Crime reporters need a tough skin: Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

by Viet-Lien (Alice) Hoang

09/10/09

While you need tough skin to be a journalist, and even thicker skin for crime reporting, at the end of the day, the job’s “rewarding,” said Chris Doucette, crime reporter for the Toronto Sun.

Doucette said that while he covers about 30 out of the 70 crimes that the Toronto Sun reports on in a year, he has also written many other stories dealing with various issues.

Doucette, who graduated from the three-year print journalism program at Centennial College Bell Centre in 2002, visited Centennial College HP campus Tuesday to talk about crime reporting.

Doucette spoke about the emotional impact that he has experienced, as he recalled the details of an incident when a little boy fell off of a balcony and died.  He also witnessed the boy’s father receive the tragic news in anguish, falling to his knees and burying his face in his hands.

“You see enough tragedies that you get over it, but just to a point that allows you to do your job,” said Doucette with a lowered voice.  “The human being in me does care.”

He tries to find stories in cases that might be considered only briefs, which people tend to overlook and see as frivolous because they are so common, Doucette said.

Every day is an adventure, as he strives to make a difference through his stories,

Doucette said.

Doucette started driving a truck for a living in the fall of 1991, about six months after he left the army.   He described how being a little older when he went back to school and having life experience allowed him to relate to people from all walks of life.

“Go straight to the scene and speak to people, even those who seem reluctant, and try to make them understand that there are big issues present,” said Doucette, when asked for tips on covering crime stories.

Like covering any other beat, there are downsides to crime reporting, but you should always try to find a way to work around barriers, he said.

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