{ 06 August 2006 }
11:42 PM |  
(I said I was going to post this here because it might be a bit touchy to put on the station website, as I almost did originally. I know it plays a little off the last post.)

Owen says:

Most reporters will agree the hardest thing in our job is meeting the family of someone who just died. There's absolutely no cordial way to say "Hi, I'm a reporter, can I talk to you about your dead son?" I'm not being flippant -- just honest. And you can't honestly say you know the pain they're going through, because you can't.

I mean, there are ways to be apologetic, ways to be empathetic, ways to soften the question. But I still remember once, back in my last job, when I visited the family of a woman killed by a drunk driver. They were very accommodating, allowing us into their home and showing us some wonderful home video of this aunt/mother/sister laughing and joking at a family gathering.

When we got back to the station, I was looking through my photographer's footage when I saw me, standing there amidst these family members, some of whom were crying. I stood out like a sore... well, everything. Surely, it was not my place to be there in their time of grief.

But then I remember why they invited me to their home in the first place.

They wanted to show people what can happen to families when someone gets drunk and thinks he or she can get behind the wheel.

So if by showing some tragedy on TV we can prevent some people from drinking and driving, convince others to wear seat belts, or help parents realize they need to watch their kids more... then maybe it's worth it.

I'm fully aware this reeks of justification. Maybe part of it is. But these are things going on in the minds of many reporters I know. I just hope people know, few of us cover the aforementioned stories because we revel in the tragedy.

{ 05 August 2006 }
4:31 PM |  
Sorry it's been a while. I've been splitting my loyalty with the John Campbell Weather Blog. He asked me to guest post for him while he's out on his honeymoon.

But this I don't think I can post on the K E T V site. This guy got up in our grill today. Hmm. I've never used that phrase, but it fits.

To his credit, we were in fact covering a toddler drowning in his apartment complex, and his specific building was the same one the 3-year-old lived in.

But we weren't trying to be "leeches on society" as he so poetically put it. And it's the third drowning or near-drowning in a week here. That's just unbelievable.

I truly think most every journalist gets into the business because they feel they can make a difference. (Okay, some want to be on TV, but they usually don't last long) And any of my friends will tell you how much I hate covering tragedies like car crashes and drownings. And I try to look at it this way: If by covering this child drowning I can convince 10, five, or even one parent to pay closer attention to their toddler, maybe it's worth it.

Here's to the next generation of journalists never losing idealism in the midst of overwhelming cynicism. And here's hoping Mr. Mass (yes, we looked up his name from his license plate) understands we're not all leeches, and even fewer of us start out that way.

Oh, also. He was within his right to stand in front of our cameras. And we were within our right to shoot video.




question: What is "onasteek?" answer: a silly name from a silly joke from a time long past. but that's what you get when you put a worm onasteek.


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