By: Erin Whalen

At Accident Scene, Schultz Saves Lives

by Erin Whalen

A reporter’s recent heroics at the scene of a water-tower collapse
suggests that Superman no longer works at the Daily Planet as Clark
Kent but at the Times-Republican in Marshalltown, Iowa, under the
identity of Bryan Schultz, rookie reporter.

Schultz, 28, had been on the job barely two weeks when he was presented
with the typical cub reporter’s cookie-cutter assignment, to cover the
raising of a water tower in nearby New Providence. But Schultz, an
ex-Navy seaman with an ‘aw, shucks’ manner, soon found himself taking
more than notes and photos, as the 50,000-gallon water tank, the crane
raising it, and three workers suddenly came crashing to earth from a
height of about 100 feet.

After briefly scurrying to safety, Schultz took charge of the scene,
administering CPR to one of the three workers, comforting another, and
instructing others at the scene not to move any of the injured. The
first ambulance did not appear for 20 to 30 minutes.

A sheriff who arrived at the disaster site expressed his surprise in
finding the emergency response being run by a reporter. ‘He said, ‘I
take back everything bad that I said about the press,” reports
Times-Republican Publisher Mike Schlesinger, chuckling.

Reporter Schultz says he has mixed emotions about the incident: ‘From
a cold journalistic standpoint, I was in the right place at the right
time, but, as a human, it was something that no one wanted to see.’

Schultz, who spent the days following the accident visiting the two
survivors in the hospital, expressed regret at the death of the third
man and his discomfort with all the attention focused on him since his
first-hand account and photos appeared in the paper in late July. ‘I’m
not used to a byline, let alone being in the story,’ he says. ‘I truly
think I didn’t do anything different than what any person would do if
they could.’

Schlesinger, however, disagrees. ‘He downplays his part,’ he says,
pointing out that Schultz ingested blood while giving CPR and had to
take an HIV test (the result was negative). ‘I can’t say enough good
things about this kid,’ he adds. ‘He’s going to go on to be a great
reporter; he’s already established that he’s a fine young man.’ A
super one, even.


Erin Whalen is an intern at E&P.

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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