Chase before you walk or run

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

by Peter Harris

It is no secret that being a journalist puts you in odd spots and predicaments. Let me share a small, strange example: this past week, I found myself huffing on a stationary bike in Ottawa while chasing breaking news of the terror arrest in Edmonton.

How did it come to this? I had knee surgery at the end of 2010 after snapping my knee playing soccer (and yes, I dropped to the ground cupping my knee in a way only soccer players do). Intense two-hour physiotherapy sessions are restoring my leg strength and distinctive (read: awkward) walk since the surgery.

As I sat on a bed in the physio clinic with ice wrapped around my bad knee, an urgent e-mail went out from our assignment desk in Vancouver about the RCMP’s arrest of a Canadian citizen with alleged ties to bombings in Iraq. I couldn’t leave, but I was able to help from where I sat, so I began chasing reaction and details.

I stretched my leg while dialing the RCMP, but it was after hours, so no one picked up. I moved to a stair climber and sent notes to a couple of sources seeking background information, then moved on to balance exercises and an e-mail exchange with the public safety minister’s press secretary.

None of this seemed unusual to me – I was caught up in the chase – until I looked up from my iPhone and noticed some funny looks from the physiotherapists. When I described what I was doing, my therapist just shook her head and said, “You have a strange job.”

Chasing a story and working on returning to good health certainly don’t fit together, but these strange moments are exactly why I like my job – sometimes you just have to chase before you walk.

Peter is one of Global National’s correspondents based in Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter: @PeterHarris.


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