When I first started covering news stories, police were rightfully suspicious and wonder who is this guy and why is he recording us? I also own a reminiscing website YouRememberThat.com and back in the day reporters would be wearing a fedora style hat and they would have their press pass in the band of their hat. It was a natural thing for me to do, and unnatural thing since I don’t really like wearing hats. But it was an important thing for me to do because not many men wear fedoras these days and it stood out. It helped identify me with the public officials on who I am. Years ago I even had an assistant fire chief refuse to talk to me because he had no idea who I was; today he and I are good friends.
The hat made me recognizable to the public officials and the public. Adding the trench coat was a natural progression. I joke about it that I go work in costume but it also allows me to do something no other media can do and that is come out from behind the logo. To be a real person. People like that.
My audience has grown substantially since the early days and most cops and firefighters now know me. I learned the other night covering a fire a cop didn’t care who I was, I went to the next block and the cop was happy to see me again. It also stands out in my mind when I’m at a shooting and people shout out “It’s DoingItLocal!” or as I’m walking to a fire and people are looking out their windows, recognize me and give me a wave. All it comes down to is I just want to tell you the story of what is going on in your neighborhood.