Irene North


What reporters do when covering stories

I work the fourth Saturday of every month. That means I cover the Polar Plunge each year as well. I never know a good time to get there. The event always starts at 11 a.m., but you want to get there and interview some people ahead of time, take some photographs for the photo gallery of set up and the crowd. Some years I get there at the right time. Some years, like this year, I was early.

Fortunately, my partner in crime, Reporter Charissa Bryce, was coming with me to do video. I would write the story and take photos. In the past, I’ve had to do all three.

Naturally, we had some time to goof off. This is how a reporter spends their time when they can’t leave an event, but are slightly bored.

After interviewing a group of people, the Island Beauties, taking some photos and shooting some video, we didn’t have much else to do until the Polar Plunge began. So, we entertained ourselves.

Charissa Bryce prepares for the Polar Plunge. Or is she a CIA agent watching you?

So this guy in the blue jacket enlisted the help of other people to untangle his rope. I’m not sure what he was planning.

I spotted him a little while later with a camera.

Uh-oh. He knows I’m watching him. Shortly after this, he put his camera away. What was he up to?

The Polar Plunge still hadn’t started. A bald eagle flew overhead. Naturally, since all birds of prey hate me, this is the best photo I got. Stupid bird.

He’s back taking pictures. I’m pretty sure he took one of me and is going to turn me in to the cops.

I suck at being a spy. This is the second time he’s caught me watching him. That’s why I work as a reporter at the Star-Herald and not for the CIA.

The Polar Plunge doesn’t start for fifteen minutes, but here’s a stick with some ice and a feather that Charissa Bryce found.

This German Shepherd looked like he wanted to jump into the North Platte River, but it is too cold for a dog such as this to be able to take the icy water.

65 people jumped into the icy North Platte River at this year’s Polar Plunge. They do this to raise money – more than $14,000 this year – for Special Olympics Nebraska. I took some awesome pictures and wrote a story for the Star-Herald.

The Canada geese begin flying away. As the Polar Plunge progressed, they all slowly moved away from the humans.

This guy thought his dog needed to be kept warm. It was cold out, but it’s a husky. Maybe he was hiding the dog from the strange man in the blue jacket.

Super spy Charissa Bryce. She’s camouflaged really well. I almost didn’t see her.

The guy with the blue jacket is back, but this time he has a bullhorn. He used it to say something about the Oscars while Charissa was videotaping an interview. Someone told me his name was Jay, or Ray, or something.

I was introduced to Ray Richards a few years back at some event in town. Ray seems to be the emcee at all the events I cover. So, when I saw him at the Polar Plunge in 2015, I thought I would interview him as part of my story for the Star-Herald. But I couldn’t remember his name. I am terrible at remembering names.

I did the interview and then went to my old standby, “Can you spell your name for me so I can make sure it’s right in the paper.” This works great because so many people have different spellings of common names or have a difficult last name to spell. I don’t have to admit I’m stupid and forgot your name and we actually do get the right spelling of your name. So, he gladly obligied.

“R-a-y,” he spelled.

“Shit,” I said to myself. “I hope his last name is really hard to spell.”


“Fuck,” I thought. “Now he knows I’m stupid.”

Ray was very gracious. However, ever since then, he will randomly come up to me, offer to shake my hand, and say, “I don’t believe we’ve met. My name is Ray Richards.”

Sometimes, he will be laughing too hard and can’t get his name out. Yes, I’m a dumbass. But I never forgot Ray’s name ever again.

Thanks for being a good sport, Ray. We all love you.

Yes, I do work from time to time. This angle is best to catch people jumping into the North Platte River.

When we were done, Charissa captured my first ever selfie. I’m the dork in the background.

Then, it was back to the newspaper to write the story, sort the photographs, and edit the video. At least this year I had someone with me to keep me company and make the day a lot of fun.


A physical manifestation of stress


The eyeball update


  1. Sandra Reddish

    At least it was bright out and you didn’t blind Charissa with a flash!

  2. Sandra Reddish

    There is a more appropriate caption, but I’d get in trouble if I wrote it out for all to see.

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