Things change on a dime

Published 10:33 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yesterday at about 5 p.m. the environment in the newsroom took a sharp turn. A day that had been compiled mostly of meetings spun about 180 degrees when word of a possible shooting broke across the scanner.

John Few, being the intrepid reporter that he is, took off to cover the story for his readers. Hard news, news that usually encompasses something like a fire or shooting, is the primary thing of focus in journalism classes. It’s the form of journalism most reporters are the most comfortable doing because it’s been beaten into our heads by professors and fellow professionals.

However, that doesn’t make it easy. It’s hard to arrive on the scene of devastation like a fire, shooting or natural disaster. Lives have been impacted, for the most part negatively. It’s hard to look at people and ask them for information that is probably difficult for them to give.

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It’s hard to wrangle police and fire personnel who have better things to do than talk to reporters, but they always manage to give enough information to help with a story. The job of a reporter is that of inconvenience. Sometimes, people think we’re intrusive. We’ve been called insensitive.

At the end of the day, we’ve got to inform the public of the things that happen around them. We do those stories because we have to, not necessarily because we want to.

We feel for the affected families but we’ve got a job to do. We try to do it with as much respect and sensitivity as we can.