We’re surrounded by news every single day, almost in every aspect of our lives. We wake up to morning headlines either on newscasts, by reading newspapers, or an alert on our telephone. We debate it, we refute it, we act on it or we ignore it. No matter how we respond to news and its coverage or what we choose to do with information, one aspect that’s hardly ever thought about are the people delivering it. The journalist behind the headlines.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like speaking to a person who may have lost the love of their life, daughter, father or son hours before? How do you even approach a person in so much pain? What questions do you ask to get the story and remain respectful of the situation?
News gathering is a plethora of moving parts joined together to make one complete story - that is fair and balanced if done correctly. Journalists ask the tough questions which means they get hung up on, yelled at and cursed at a lot. The sound of a slammed door is oftentimes better than select words being shouted at us. In some towns you’re not solidified unless you’ve been publicly humiliated by whichever politician is in charge at the time.
But what happens when there’s a story that hits close to home? When a story is personal not only for you but for an entire generation with ramifications that will reverberate for years. Like many viewers, we’re watching different angles of the same story on various outlets. Reading comments on social media is a winding rabbit hole of attacks, ignorance and misinformation. We find ourselves both physically and mentally drained. Because of the nature of news, we’re working longer hours, getting less sleep and secretly dealing with emotions from being side-by-side with the marching crowd, soothing our skin from outside elements, and in some cases dealing with the aftermath of getting arrested on live television.
Our families are worried about us. We are worried about us. Yet we continue through our weariness because it is in these moments that we get to be a part of history. Our jobs allow us front row seats to moments in time that will be written about in history books. The stories we tell will shape thought and spear conversations for generations to come. These are the times when our ability to put ourselves aside for the greater good is at its height. It is why we are here. It is why we continue forward.
#JOURNOLIFE What School Can’t Teach You, is a collection of essays from working journalists that gives readers a raw and gritty look at the world of news and what it really takes to be a journalist. It is available now on Amazon.