This is getting to be an old story for me. The rare trip out of town, the uncommon unplugged weekend, the incommunicado expeditions. I can count on one hand how often this happens. One hand that’s been mauled by a bear.

But when it does happen there’s always a slew of big stories that, of course, wouldn’t have happened on any weekend I was here. This time it was a shooting death, a major fire, and a car versus building. Two of the three we now have stories published, but they didn’t come with the usual flurry of breaking updates and on-the-scene observations that Sheepshead Bites excels at. For that, I apologize. But everyone needs a break, right?

There is, of course, a way you can help. We did receive e-mails from readers, almost all with a link to a news story or a one-line tip that read, say, “Mad fire at East 21st St.” This is a big help, but not when I have no connection to e-mail. That’s why we’ve created a dedicated tips e-mail address that will forward the tip to multiple Sheepshead Bites writers, allowing us to get information out there faster.

Please save tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com to your contact books and in your phones. You can – and should – send text, video and photos via e-mail or text messaging to this address.

That said, while any information is helpful, more is more. Snap photos with your cell phones, and e-mail us descriptions of the scene. Don’t just tell us there’s a fire, tell us that the fire has drawn four firetrucks, and that the smoke is choking the streets. Tell us what roads are closed off, or where police are gathering at the scene of crime. Let us know how people are reacting, and if the situation poses an inconvenience or danger to others in the community. That kind of information allows us to get a story out even faster, keeping other readers informed about neighborhood conditions, and allowing them to act accordingly.

Tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com. Save it. Now.

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  • nolastname

    Blah,blah,blah. No excuses. Are you the only person with the ability to post? If so you need to share the task…someone should always man the ship.
    Can anyone tell me why parts of southern Brooklyn were not sprayed for West Nile as previously planned? I am being eaten alive, no really on the edge of anemia.
    Is it so tree pruners were not swimming in chemicals or just another way to kill us off?

  • RomanM

    Should I forward my freelance reporter fee bill to that email address as well? 

    • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

      If you think you’ve got what it takes to put together a fully reporter article, we can discuss it. But snapping a photo and sending a tip does not an article make.

      • nolastname

        Tell me about it. LOL

  • Andrew Kent

    Whenever I’m at a crowded fire, I’m too busy shouting “Theater! Theater!” to ask any questions.  But, seriously, does Sheepshead Bites own a police scanner or a scanner app for a smart phone? Until the NYPD and FDNY go fully digital, police calls offer a treasure trove of tips for journalists, photographers, tow truck operators, ambulance chasers, and even criminals and terrorists attempting to avoid detection. I slept through 9/11 and missed all the tragic drama, but I’ve heard some pretty amazing stuff on my scanner over the years. A scanner and a list of 10-codes won’t replace a knowledgeable reporter, stringer, or tipster, but having these resources, and a good relationship with the precinct or the NYPD’s Public Information Office, can mean the difference between a breaking story and a second day lede.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      That’s a good one, I like it!  Last headline I tried to send in got rejected, i’ll never know why, it read:

          “CLINTON SENDS GORE A-BROAD”…  don’t know how that dash got in there…

      • Andrew Kent

        I’m waiting for some hoity toid to ask me if I’ve ever been abroad, to which I’ll reply in my best Larry the Cable Guy impression, “Hell no, these are man-boobs!” 

  • http://blog.arikatt.com Ariela B.

    Good plan. Added the address to my phone contacts.

  • Andrew Kent

    Ned, I just emailed you some NYC frequency links and a list of NYPD 10-codes.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Is there any way to get these  frequencies on-line? I remember that there was a site some years back that made fire frequencies available for listening, but I’ve forgotten the site name. 

      • Andrew Kent

        There seem to be a number of streaming sites, some free and some paid, and there are some low-cost smart phone apps.  You can probably find what you need by Googling.  But for a local blog like SB, the challenge is to find streaming for the local precincts, detective squads, fire dispatchers, news media, and other services.  The advantage of a programmable scanner is that you can punch in the frequencies you want to monitor, and then select and monitor in rapid sequence only those that you want to hear.  The dispatches for the local precincts should be enough to supply a plethora of news tips, but specific incidents may require listening to additional frequencies in order to get more details.  Among my faves is the NYPD aviation division when they are searching for a fugitive, and, whenever I hear a helicopter hovering overhead, I boot up that frequency to find out what’s happening. 

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          I used to work nights logging fires for a Public Adjuster. Didn’t work out that well because it started to overlap with my day job. We had a number of radios, some scanned a number of frequencies while some were set for borough commands. The trick was to learn which fires had the best potential for causing damage, and to work it before anyone else picked up on it. Lots of fun. Especially talking to people that hadn’t left their house though the fireman were running through their rooms.

          A street by street phone directory would be useful, but so many people these days have either cell phones or unlisted numbers. Sometimes one can get an idea from a neighbor whether a story warrants further attention. Police sometimes give specifics over the air, but other times they are vague. At least that is what I remember. We kept a police radio going in the hope of determining whether something was an arson. Firemen would say there was a suspicious fire, but police might give a more specific clue.

          Sheepshead Bites HQ would look especially cool with a group of radios going, breaking the silence of quiet keyboards.

          • Anonymous

            “Sheepshead Bites HQ would look especially cool with a group of radios going, breaking the silence of quiet keyboards.”
            You’ve obviously never been to Sheepshead Bites office. It’s never quiet. Ned never shuts up. But when he does, it’s to serenade our intern with “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

            It’s a silly place. 

  • Anonymous

    Can someone please explain this to me….

    Why did this happen?

  • nolastname

    OK, so it’s Tuesday. Wht is a hydrant left running off water? From where?

  • nolastname