Bed bug beat and the Downtown Eastside

This headline sums up my past couple of days on the job at 24 Hours. And despite how it appears, both parts of the title are completely unrelated.

First, the bed bugs.

Several days ago I wrote an article for the paper on a woman who has been living in a bed bug-infested apartment for two years.

The next day, I got a phone call at work from someone who said he has been living in a rented suite with bed bugs for almost a year, and his landlord has done nothing about. Somebody else emailed the general news address to report a similar problem.

Not only are people reading my articles, but they are responding, and that’s pretty cool.

I wrote an article about the man and his landlord, which didn’t make it to the print edition, and may or may not be lurking online somewhere at vancouver.24hrs.com.

It’s safe to say that I am the go-to girl for all things bed bug: I’m on the bed bug beat.

And on an unrelated note: My adventure in the DTES.

My editor assigned me to a story about a food bank barbecue at Oppenheimer Park. But instead of just filing a story, I also got the opportunity to shoot the event for the website, and do some on-camera work.

It was a challenge: I was in charge of setting up all of the equipment, filming B-roll, interviewing people and doing my own reporting (which was weird at first because I was standing in front of my tripod talking to no one in particular, but I eventually got used to it).

I was very gung-ho, because broadcasting is my ultimate career goal.

And to add to my excitement, it just so happens that Sarah McLachlan was there, at Oppenheimer Park, flipping burgers for the cause. (Her appearance wasn’t mentioned in the press release.)

I immediately got footage of her behind the grill, and interviewed her when she took a minute to mingle with the crowd. She was very gracious and down-to-earth. That’s another person to add to my list of famous interviewees!

Eventually, CBC, Shaw, CTV and GlobalBC all showed up with their big fancy cameras and I decided to get on with my day.

My “bodyguard,” a photographer who accompanied me to the site, left halfway through shooting. So I walked from 400 Powell St. to 554 E 15th. That is a very long walk, and right through Main and Hastings too.

But I lived, and got some exercise, and had a great day.

Look for the video online, which should be up soon. The article can be read here as well as in tomorrow’s paper.

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