Kevin G. Riley

Editor, Dayton Daily News

Dayton, Ohio

[OH-E 0201]

My career was a little bit unusual because I didn’t spend a lot of time as a reporter. You know, I started as a copy editor and did a lot of things on the editing side. I kept wanting to be a reporter, and I kept getting told I was more valuable doing something else.

For a brief period I got to be a police reporter, which [was] really always my dream – my father was a police officer and that’s really what I always wanted to do.

And just a couple weeks into it I covered my first homicide.

It was a great experience for me because I went and talked to the police lieutenant who gave the details. And I was very comfortable in that situation. I’d been around cops my whole life – and what the guy had to say, how he described this victim, how she got herself in this spot – all made sense in the stereotypes I was used to, you know.

And, I came back to the office, and I wrote up my story. And my editor said, “Well, you need to go talk to the victim’s family.”

And I’m like, “Why? I mean this is like your standard homicide. I mean: Cops said this. Why?”

He said, “You need to go out there and talk to them.”

So I drove out there – it was in kind of a rough neighborhood. I was a little bit lost. I was very intimidated. And I kept kind of circling the block. And I had made a decision to go back and tell my boss no one was home.

And at that moment, a woman came walking out of the house and waved me down. It turned out to be the victim’s mom. And she thought that I must be like a cop or a building supervisor and stuff. And I told her no – I was from the paper. And she talked to me for a few minutes.

What it taught me was: You read a lot of stories or you may write a lot of stories or you may hear a lot of stories about people being killed. But you should never forget – it someone’s daughter, someone’s mom.

It’s always stayed with me.