Just getting home from a very long day with the Herald. Started the day off with a fun assignment, the annual “Blessing of the Animals” at the Old South Church in Back Bay. Kind of a quirky event where the pastors of the church bless local pets and the Boston Police Department horses, and definitely easy.
5.2.2009 - BOSTON - Blarney, the dog, Stamp and his owner Kay Stamp, of Boston, stands at attention at the Old South Church's annual "Blessing of the Animals" on May 2, 2009.
But then, the story of the day — Swine Flu. Judging from all the comments and status updates I’ve seen from my other journalism friends, I guess I was due to cover a swine flu story. This time, I was sent to hang out at the Harvard Medical School, where nine students were diagnosed with the strain as of Saturday.
For the most part, the students weren’t concerned. A few even laughed it off when the topic was even mentioned. I guess if you’re going to get sick with swine flu, there’s hardly a better place in the world than Harvard Medical School.
Yet, the reporter and I found a lot of students reluctant to go on the record about the incidents, citing demerits issued by the school regarding comments to the media. This sounded absolutely ludicrous, and I can’t imagine an institution of higher education with the caliber of Harvard resorting to such scare techniques. If anything, I’d expect them to be spinning the hell out of a story like this. Now, they’ve got active strains of the virus to study, on campus, and their treatment of the infected patients could stand as a model for the rest of the world. It’s not that hard of a sell! Yet, for some reason, much of the Harvard Medical School student body seemed frightful about the consequences of discussing their lack of concern and Harvard’s proactive response to the outbreak. Oh well. What can you do?
Here’s a shot from the fishing expedition:
5.2.2009 - BOSTON - First-year Harvard medical students were engaging in regular social activity Saturday, May 2, 2009, days after swine flu was reported on the Medical School campus. The students, whose classes were canceled, said they were not overly concerned about the incidents on campus.