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LAT's man for a day (kind of)

I was critical of the L.A. Times web feature where reporter William Lobdell does somebody else's job for a few hours then writes (and videos) as if he knows something about it. But not everyone agrees.

 He was a lifeguard at Huntington Beach city beach 30 years ago. At least his story was a realistic portrayal of some of the things that lifeguards do. The media rarely gets it right when it comes to lifeguards and ocean sports. A few years ago an LAT reporter wrote that a man who fell off his yacht off Palos Verdes was rescued by lifeguards from the Baywatch lifeguard service. In reality, he was rescued by LA County lifeguards. The name of every boat in the LACO fleet is Baywatch along with name of its base (BW Cabrillo, BW Avalon, BW Isthmus, BW Malibu...). I still wonder if it is a common thing for journalists to not know the difference between TV and real life.

Twenty years ago I was a guard at HB City and worked with Panis and Lindo. Lindo, an African American, is the Chief Lifeguard now. I quit after I refused to do a rehearsed bit for the show Emergency 911. After that I worked summers for Los Angeles County. My point is that I was proud of being a lifeguard and thought my job was important. Maybe Lobdell's bit is cheesy to those in journalism, but at least he didn't misrepresent the facts in his lifeguard segment.

Mike Harnish

September 26, 2007 10:50 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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