Reporting the news isn’t always easy
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 14, 2013
As soon as I cleared the door, my silk dress began to cling to my back.
My first thought was, “The heat is going to be brutal out there.”
When I rounded onto the flat stretch of blacktop, I immediately saw the lights and began to formulate my plan of entry.
One thing they don’t teach you in journalism school is how to respond to the news that a child is believed drowned in the river. Sure, they teach you the skill of asking “who; what; when; and where,” but they don’t cover how you’re supposed to act when you get there.
As soon as we cleared the brush, I realized I recognized the mother and she, me.
Her response was immediate and loud and pleading for the story to not be in the paper.
They don’t teach you in college what to do in cases like that.
There’s no lesson in the books that tells you what to say, so I said the first thing that came to mind. “I think you have other things you need to concentrate on than worrying about what this story will say. This is my job.”
And I didn’t apologize for it.
They also don’t teach you how to switch between one’s personal thoughts to one’s professional thoughts when faced with a situation like that. You know – that voice that makes you want to say, “I’m so sorry that this happened to you” to the one that wants to say, “What in the world were you thinking, bringing that child to the river after all this weather we’ve had?”
I realize that sometimes my job isn’t fun; just as I hope that people realize that sometimes the news isn’t pretty.
The day that 7-year-old boy drowned in the Yellow River was one of those days.
Responding to accident sites is an occupational hazard. It’s something that reporters have to do. Same thing goes for murder scenes, meth labs and bomb scares.
I won’t lie and say that it’s not fun, because oftentimes, it is. Really, really, really fun.
I can’t describe to you the rush it is to know something that no one else does, but to be the person responsible for telling the community the news is an awesome responsibility. It’s also a heavy load to bear sometimes.
I try very hard to do it with tact, with class and with all the dignity I can.
Some days, it’s not easy.