Covering bad news always hard for reporters

Published 11:57 pm Friday, April 24, 2009

On Friday, a man died in an airplane crash near John Essex High School. While we are grateful that no one on the ground was injured or killed, any fatal accident is a terrible experience for any community.

It is one of the low points in a reporter’s job to have to gather information and photographs of such an accident. While the story must be detached and unemotional, the reporters are human beings and feel the anguish of the loss of life.

In putting it together – the story – a lot of things have to be considered. Which information do we make public? Which photos should we publish? How should the article be written?

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The Demopolis Times would likely write such a story a little different than, say, the New York Times, but both newspapers write to their audience. That is not to say that one is better or more sophisticated than the other, but the audiences are very different.

We balance our duty to report the news with our duty to our community to report it in a way that is acceptable to our audience. Very often, that is not difficult, but when the scene is gruesome we must be careful how we take photos and how we ask questions.

It is neither pleasant nor exciting to report on the death of another. However, we take our duty to our community very seriously, and we seek to provide it with information in a timely and tasteful manner.