Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sometimes, it's hard.

News is gruesome. There, I said it. I know you are all thinking it.

Blood. Gore. Death. Violence. Sex. Crime. Debauchery. Evil.

Who would choose to associate themselves with such awful aspects of the human condition?

Well, someone has to do it so the rest of you can be "in the know."

Nicole was pretty swamped at the Web desk today, so I decided to help her out. Maybe I should have stuck with editing.

Guess how many stories about child abuse I wrote today? Four. All victims were children under the age of 2. And quite frankly, I am not going to bother telling you the specifics because it will sicken you. All you have to do is go to the website (link on the sidebar) to see what a wonderful day I had. Let me just say, I gave my baby a big hug when I picked her up from Grammy's house today. And it was very hard to hold back the tears.

They say if you work in news, you have to be able to remove yourself from your emotions so you can deliver the news in an unbiased, effective way. You can't let these stories take over your life. You can't take them personally.

I've tried; I can't. I simply cannot turn off the mother in me. I become incensed, I get physically upset, and I want to drive myself down to the jail and rip these people's faces off when I read what they've done to their precious, innocent babies. I can hardly focus on AP Style, proper grammar, and inverted pyramids when I'm outraged at another parent's heinous actions towards their OWN FLESH AND BLOOD.

Then, there are the stories of unfair death. Like the poor 63-year-old who was walking in a crosswalk at the appropriate time when an "alleged" drunken woman "allegedly" ran a red light and KILLED HIM. That happened this morning, right here in Mesa.

A person can only read so much about abuse, death, lies and murder before they become completely desensitized to it all. It's a mode of survival, really. Eat, or be eaten. Write, or be fired. Turn it off or turn into a nutcase.

But the people need to know...right? they?

How much DO you want to know when you turn on the 10 o'clock news?


  1. I have days like this all the time in my newsroom. Today, for example, we had two standoffs, three child abuse cases and several rapes. Who know Utah could be so seedy? It wears you out after awhile.

  2. Yesterday must have been the day for crazies as in our city there was a man that had a standoff with the police, shot two officers (neither mortally, thank goodness) and then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

    Something like that, the public has a need to know, but I agree with you, sometimes the ongoing others are just too much and I think it also gives the other crazies out there more ideas.

    I wish we had a segment devoted to good news, not always the bad.


  3. That's one thing that I like about my station... Luckily we don't cover that much stuff. Not unless we feel like it really is important for the community to know and we have a good reason to believe that... otherwise, it's not making the cut.

  4. From the social worker...
    Whether we admit it or not, stuff like that happens. I think if we try to shut it out and pretend it doesn't happen, we only give more power to perpetrators who thrive on fear and secrecy.

    News is kind of like social work in that aspect - you surround yourself with the worst of the worst. But at the same time, you can't forget the one shining star you see on occasion, who shows you there are still good people. In the meantime, I work on treating the victims and perpetrators both, and trying to fix the problem.

    I'm glad the news talks about it though, because I think it's important for people to have their eyes opened to what is going on in the world. Otherwise we all become like ostriches with our heads in the sand, ignoring reality while it rages around us...

    But that could just be my social work-y perspective ;-)


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