I'm going to be doing an interview with a reporter from Fox 5 here in DC in a couple of weeks. It's just preliminary at this time, but I think there's going to be the reporter ('Personality', according to the Fox 5 web site - http://www.fox5dc.com/ ) and a cameraman, I assume, since this is a TV station.
I just wanted to get a little input from the list as to what other people's experiences have been. First, a few questions.
Should I do an 'easy' cache? I.e., one not too far from a parking spot. In a sense, that doesn't give the full flavor of the experience of geocaching, but it might paint the activity as something accessible to almost anyone.
Should I scout out the cache ahead of time in order to ensure that I'll find it? It seems like cheating, but I would hate to get there and not find anything. I'll be emphasizing the experience of getting off your butt and out and doing something more than the actual cache itself, but I think the cache kind of gives you 'closure' and a sense of completion and accomplishment.
Should I contact the cache owner ahead of time? It may not be possible - we may make a spontaneous decision on the spot. Perhaps let the reporter go through the whole process of figuring out which cache to hunt. I have no idea how much knowledge she has about the sport, I've only been talking to her assistant up to now.
Oh, and since I'm probably going to get at least one email trying to get me to deprecate the sport (ahem) - let me just say that that's not going to happen. I understand Dave's example of the pristine spot trampled by a thousand pairs of uncaring shoes. My position is that you shouldn't be planting a cache at that spot. Share it with a few of your closest friends, not the geocaching community at large. I've been to Yosemite, and there is no need for any more visitors there. Lots of people all over the place. Traffic jams. I'm not sure you could find a spot any cooler than the ones where you can see Half-dome and Angel Falls. Maybe someone will plant a cache half-way up 'El Capitan'. Any park like that doesn't 'need' a geocache.
Here, in suburban Maryland, public parks are an underutilized treasure. You have no idea how many little parks there are scattered throughout this area. I have yet to visit a park that I thought was being overused. Every cache we've gone to around here has brought us someplace we would never have gone otherwise. Planting a cache 100 feet off a trail wouldn't destroy anything. Especially since none of the caches around here have more than 2 or 3 visitors a week. At least none of the caches I've looked at.
Which brings me back to the reporting. This is being aired on one of the big four broadcast networks. Fox is the only major network to do a 10:00pm news show - all the rest wait until 11:00. So if there's any chance of a national lawmaker seeing geocaching it's likely here, although perhaps the CNN piece was seen by some of them. I want to put in a good plug for the activity. I don't feel it's any more destructive to the environment than hunting, fishing, mountain biking, or even hiking (all of which I've done, by the way.) Done responsibly (by both cachers and cachees, so to speak) it shouldn't impact the environment in any negative way. How do I get this point across without appearing to push it too hard?
Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions? I'll try to let everyone know when (if) it's being aired, although it will likely only be viewable in the DC area.
-- Alexander Johns (410) 884-2233 11000 Brokenland Parkway Columbia, MD 21044 firstname.lastname@example.org N 39° 12.750' W 076° 51.891' Elevation: 604ft