June 11, 2010

Reporters May Not Have Souls

So I'm freelancing for the man these days. And I'm doing a goofball feature story on those dudes who comb the beaches with metal detectors looking for treasure. And I talk to a couple guys and they don't find much but they're having fun. Like I said, it's a goofball feature. 

Then I meet a guy who is legit. He has been searching Southern California beaches for more than 20 years, pulled up $250,000 in gold and diamonds over the years. Yes, I believe him. As a reporter, I trust my ability to size people up, for the most part. Here's what made him extremely legit: He didn't want to talk to me if I was going to write a story. He said the attention in the media brings competition. And he would tell me his secrets of finding treasure if I didn't do a story. Well, I told him that maybe I wouldn't do a story after all. Maybe I would spike this idea, go out and get the sort of metal detector he recommends and follow his advice and make money that way. 

While we spoke, my energy clearly said I wouldn't do a story, but I made no promises. In fact, it was only several hours later that awakened from my gold-and-diamonds daydream to remember that I was a writer. I had less interest in looking for watches and rings with a metal detector than I had in writing fun stuff about interesting people. 

A tip for everyone: Don't tell a reporter anything you aren't willing to see in print.

So this guy unloaded his secrets to me. I took no notes, except mentally. And I of course did not identify him nor anyone else in the story with multiple sources.

As a reporter, this guy was a find for me. He was like finding a $1,500 gold ring-- though I only get about a hundred bucks for the story I wrote. For me, this guy was like finding treasure.

Sometimes, reporting can be fun as hell.

If interested, here's the story.

23 comments:

j.m. neeb said...

Ed, I rather enjoyed your story. I wouldn't have given much thought to metal detector-wielding treasure hunters before, but that hobby is quite interesting.

Here on the west side of Michigan, we have a beautiful coast along the great lake. The beaches are fairly popular in the summertime, but I can't imagine them containing the treasure potential of those in CA.

Xcrush said...

The thing about not telling a reporter anything you didn't want to see in a story makes me a bit nervous my friend! :)

Love, Evolution, and Resilience said...

Oh now, this was wicked cool! I would have liked to have met those guys... I bet their eyes light up when they talk about their finds, I bet they get all excited and proud... Oh this would have been wonderful! The story was a pretty good read too! I like the ending, don't we all like to stay out of sight? Love This!

Lori said...

I am grinning from ear to ear knowing your soul will be just fine. :-)

Ed Pilolla said...

jm neeb, i love the west side of michigan. grew up in and around chicago. lake michigan beaches are my home. thanks for stopping by.

xcrush, no need to be nervous...:)

love, evolution and resilience, thanks for reading the patch.com story. they are a fun bunch. true treasure seekers, and dedicated, to the point of not wanting any competition. when they talk about the jewelry they've pulled up, you are right: they light up. ha!

lorster, i appreciate that. i mean, i want the common man to share in the wealth of the seas. or something like that:)

Brian Miller said...

we met a guy at the park one day that was telling us all the money he made...its legit...craziness...i need to go a metal detector...i just might solve the need to get a full time job...

Su-sieee! Mac said...

This is another daydream of mine, to comb the beaches for buried treasure. I even like the idea of just finding bottle caps, but then I'm thinking of Nehi soda caps. I enjoyed your news story for the man as well as your story behind getting it.

Wanderlust said...

I need to stop wearing my gold and diamonds to the beach, dammit.

Bernie said...

Leaving the Rolex home next time I go to the beach.....:-) Hugs

Jingle said...

stay cool,
it does not matter what others do,
thank you for visiting and encouraging!
I always get late because I have another blog to manage, host Thursday Poets Rally, do poetry..

Barbara said...

Great story!

How's Hermosa Beach these days? I grew up in Redondo and spent many summer days on the beach in Hermosa.

The Empress said...

That does it. My little guy has been asking for a 39.99 metal detector for 3 years now.
I've always said no.

Up until today.

Hello, Target.

Thank you for stopping over at Diary's today...fun to see you there.

Piedmont Writer said...

Excellent article Ed. I used to live on the beach in Rhode Island, unfortunatly I was the only one who walked it and I never wore jewelry.

My brother had a metal detector for awhile but I don't think he ever found anything.

Anjuli said...

How wonderful you found this 'great treasure' :) I loved the article you wrote- you made me want to run out and get a metal detector, even if it is just for a few bottle caps and stray quarters...just the thought of finding 'lost treasure' is exciting.

I have learned the hard way about not telling something to a reporter if I don't want to see it in hard print! We live and learn.

Jingle said...

Happy Sunday!

it sounds cool to actually find treasure with that efforts...

Wine and Words said...

Mmmm, yes, well....our blogs are off the record, yes? Comments too? Or need I be more careful? :)

LadyFi said...

I bet he had lots of interesting stories to tell!

Moannie said...

Two rings [one JP's wedding ring-never replaced]a gold bracelet and a gold chain, all lost on various beaches. Our loss is anothers gain I like to think. What a great life, sun sea and buried treasure.

Intesting article, surely worth more than $100.

Melissa said...

Sounds like some stories are diamonds in the rough.

Heck, some people are too.

Graceful said...

I have to be honest, I roll my eyes at the metal detector guys. I've always thought of them as a little bit crazy. But geesh, who knew you could make so much money doing that for real? Looks like I may have to consider quitting my day job and hitting up the beach. On second thought...I live in Nebraska.

Ed, thanks for visiting my blog -- I was away for a bit in MN...back now after a writing respite. I'll see you again here soon.

Reflections said...

I want to go buy myself a metal detector now;-D

"Sometimes, reporting can be fun as hell."
Thts one loaded statement;-))

notesfromnadir said...

I really admire this work as you maintain your integrity and the closing sentence is the perfect conclusion. I also ended up learning more about treasure hunting & how profitable it can or can't be. 60 cents per hour!

Great job & I look forward to reading more.

Kathy Murray said...

Ed,

Great story! I remember following some of these people around Laguna Beach when I worked for a paper out there. I'd all but forgotten about them until recently when my son lost the key to our neighbor's house somewhere in their lawn. I started telling him about these contraptions that can find metal -- now I can just show him your story;)