OUTSIDER | NOREENA CHAN ~ Noreena enjoyed her job working as a reporter for the San Bernardino Portal. Most people had jobs tapping away at a keyboard. Noreena did too, but most of the time, she was out there, somewhere—seeing things, meeting people, chasing down the most interesting stories in her area. Especially people stories.
Noreena wasn’t a copy/paste reporter. Her motto was: Make tracks, Get the facts, Stop the rumors in their tracks. She despised falsehood. She figured the truth—even if less interesting—was what people wanted.
She lost many distant ancestors in a horrific earthquake in 1976 in Tangshan, China. No one but her family remembers them. Their names are not on the earthquake memorial. She can’t say whether the official news was insufficient, or negligent, or falsified. It certainly wasn’t accurate.
Even though she heard it as a small child, she still remembers the anger of her grandparents as they discussed the lies and repression their ancestors lived under. She vowed to always dig for the truth and to share it boldly. She was glad her readers—and the world in general—sought the same thing. She understood different perspectives sometimes produced stories that couldn’t be reconciled. To her, that meant she had to find more angles to look at the story from. She considered herself an investigative reporter doing human-interest stories.
The Portal paid the bills, but she hoped to cover more than just San Bernardino. Someday she would be in the right place, at the right time, with the right message to tell. She scoured the info-net every day, looking for something with a storybook ending that wasn’t a fairy tale. But lately, she was experiencing a dry streak—her eyes and brain were tired of the search. She needed a vacation.
She decided to visit a nearby scenic spot that one of her co-workers had recently done a photo essay on. She wouldn’t go there for the people but for the beauty of nature—in particular, the flowering Acacia forest on the other side of the CalNeva Rift.