The Minnesota pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists salutes former journalists who have moved on to new adventures. In this ongoing series, we invite newsies to reflect on their time in the news business. Our third entry is from Dave Aeikens, who worked in Minnesota newsrooms for more than two decades:
What I miss the most: The uncertainty and surprises that can happen every day. You just never knew what would happen from day to day, who you would meet and who might be on the other end of the phone.
I miss meeting new people and sharing their stories. I once got a call from a woman who told me that her daughter had been killed by her boyfriend. She called us before the police. I was stunned by how matter-of-fact she was. We covered the homicide. That call led to an investigation into the practices of the agency that oversees people on supervised release.
A former college football player and his father once walked into the office saying that the player’s coach had played a practical joke on him, requiring him to drive to the airport to pick up an international football player. That player did not exist. We used open records requests to detail the discipline brought against the coach.
Life as a journalist was always full of surprises. That is what I miss about being a journalist.
Dave Aeikens worked at newspapers in Albert Lea, Willmar and St. Cloud and at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He served on the National SPJ board from 1999-2009, including one year as the board’s president. He has worked in communications and engagement at the Minnesota Department of Transportation since August.
Have a reflection to share? Send it to the Minnesota SPJ at firstname.lastname@example.org