By CHRISTINE H. GEORGE Intern Reporter, Courier-News, Plainfield, N. J.

SO YOU WANT to be a reporter. You sit through hours of reporting lectures at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and participate enthusiastically in scads of newspaper-affiliated activities. You go home for the summer and write for the paper in your neighborhood and there you establish a rapport with a photographer who believes as you do.

You both live for honest reporting-experience before you write, live your story, be objective when you must but interject some of yourself in your features.

And how we interjected! We leaped from a single engine Norseman aircraft at an altitude of 2,500 feet to get the real flavor of parachuting before attempting to write a story of the area's ll-year-old sport.

FLASHING PROUD SMILES after successful initial parachute jumps, John A. Schneider and Christine H. George return to work at The Courier-News with their First Parachute Jump certificates.

PHOTOGRAPHER JOHN A. SCHNEIDER, who joined The C-N in May after covering the war in Vietnam for 2 1/2 years, and I spent a full day at Parachutes Inc. in Lakewood, N. J., learning how popular the infant sport was and meeting many varieties of jumpers and spectators from our circulation area.

Then, we returned two weeks later to attend jumping classes and to take the great leap. I experienced a fantastic sense of emancipation - after overcoming the initial fear of shoving off from the step of the plane. I know, now, how to achieve a real euphoric state. And we're both eager to jump again.

CO-ED GEORGE (left) chats with friends near scene of big jump.

This, we feel, testifies to the truth in all our copy. We're telling our readers that the sport is safe, is exciting, is fun - and we've tried it so they can trust our opinions.

And we're not only offering them my words. John shot seven rolls of film throughout the day - which lasted from 7 a.m. to midnight - and captured the mood of the sport. He mounted a camera on the wing of the plane so we have pictures of our facial expressions as we approach the door, swing our legs outside and shove off. We don't look very confident but we are moving into that wide open space.

PLAINFIELD LENSMAN John A. Schneider gets set to shove off into the wide open spaces

PERFECT BODY CONTROL is what we experienced in our 2112 minutes of descent. The jump masters at PI trained us so thoroughly that we were sorry only that the jump was so quick and that we didn't have cameras and notebooks with us to record immediate impressions.

John claims he was so busy watching me - I jumped right before he did - that he didn't pay too much attention to the direction in which he was drifting. When I landed easily in the sandy 60-acre drop zone, he looked about and saw the woods.

CHRISTINE GEORGE, experiencing exultation over a job well done, waves to everyone as she lands in sandy drop zone.

So we've laughed for days that the 21-year-old blonde who fancied herself to be uncoordinated landed in the right spot and the virile redhead landed in a tree.

This is the kind of reporting we both look forward to doing - living with the events we chronicle.

CONTRIBUTOR GEORGE is a senior at the University of Missouri School of Journalism where she is student editor of the Women's Section of The Columbia Missourian. She held a $500 grant last summer as a Newspaper Fund reporting intern. This is the third summer she has served as a reporter for The Courier-News. Her home is in Plainfield.


A 2,500-foot leap for honesty

This story was originally published in the Gannetteer, October 1969