Not Even a Bad Cough?

By Daniel Tedford

When I grow up, I want to be a journalist.

In fact, some might say I am now.

I am an editor in chief, I run a newspaper, I talk to officials,
I write legitimate stories that get published and I get paid, kind

It isn’t exactly a position I can use as a pick up line at the
bar (“What do you mean you don’t want to have dinner with me? Don’t
you know who I am? I am the editor in chief of The Poly Post!”) but
to some people – namely my mom – I could be considered a real
journalist and her opinion counts here.

As journalists, those of us who work on the paper are always
craving a hot story. We have seen movies like “All the President’s
Men,” and “Cry Freedom” and we want to make a name for ourselves –
or at least do something that makes us feel like we are true
practitioners of this profession.

So, when an entire building at Cal Poly gets evacuated and eight
fire engines fill South Campus Drive in order to investigate smoke
in the science building, some of us here at The Post get a little

It was managing editor Josh Manly, photo editor Kevyn Gardner
and myself, armed with our new press badges, a camera, notepad,
pen, and a cup of coffee.

We were on the hunt. No one knew much information and we wanted
to be the ones to figure it out. Eight fire engines are pretty
alarming and smoke in the science building allowed our imaginations
to get ahead of us. Did an experiment go wrong? Is there a fire? Is
it something worse? Is there a small kitten that might need

The situation was prime. Students huddled in a large semi-circle
in the quad just outside Building 8, confused and anxious. Police
and fire fighters barricaded the road (okay, maybe it was more like
casually asked people to not walk near the building) but our new
press badges gave us access beyond the constraints of ordinary
students. We held our heads high – professionalism here we

But after some time, our heightened journalistic observation
abilities started telling us something was wrong. Where were the
flames, the panic, the deadly fumes, the small kitten that needed
saving? Why were the fire fighters standing around so calmly? Where
is the story?

Josh kept asking people for comment, but no one would say
anything official until finally the chief fire fighter on scene
finally gave us the bad news – well technically the good news.

Apparently it was just smoke. Well, where there is smoke there
is fire, right? Not necessarily. Maybe some asphyxiation? Not
today. Possibly some dangerous fumes? Not here. Some kid with
asthma and a minor cough had to be looked at? No.

Throw me a bone here people!

No bone. Just some smoke which entered the vents due to the
construction on Building 3 and smoke in the science building equals
large investigation no matter what. Better to be safe than sorry,
but all I could think is that I had somehow been teased, led on. My
professional journalist ego pedestal had quickly risen, and was
then quickly toppled, well, maybe just bruised, but it still

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