Hope Begins In The Dark

by - July 20, 2010

So yesterday's show was quite assuredly the most depressing one I've ever had to produce.

We opened the show with the story about the family from my hometown. That was followed by a story about a 4-year-old getting shot and killed by his uncle because he dropped a game piece on his foot. Then there was the story about a house fire in one of our outlying communities that ended with one woman burning to death. And to round it all out there was the story of an oysterman falling overboard on the Appalachicola River and not resurfacing.

Today it's more of the same - follow up pieces on the two weekend murders accompanied by a story about a man setting a local restaurant on fire and a former bank president embezzling more than $1 million. Awesome.

I like to watch NCIS. I know this seems like I'm changing the subject, but I do have a point in that statement. The boyfriend and I were watching it last week, and it's the episode where this convicted killer escapes and wants Gibbs and an FBI agent to reopen his case because he's innocent. He turns out to have been framed, but that isn't the point. In the course of the show they talk about Gibbs "retiring" because he just couldn't take anymore. In response to that, Agent Fornell says something along the lines of "If you don't want to quit, you're not doing the job right."

In a sense, that's how I feel about the news regardless of whether its broadcast or print. I wish I didn't have to report on the tragedies, the crimes, the political agendas. I wish that society didn't flourish off of bad news. I wish that there were no tragedies, no crime, no political battles to have to report on a daily basis.

Do you realize how depressingly stressful this job is? Think about it. We, as journalists, are responsible for relaying information to the public, and more often that not the most important things happening in our cities, in our states, in our country or in our world are things that could only be described as horrific events.

Yesterday I reported a story that hit me harder than any other story has ever hit me before. Yes, I've felt sadness over human loss. Yes, I've felt anger over senseless acts of violence. But I've never had to present the public with information on something that affected me on a personal level. It was by far the hardest thing I've ever done.

You guys may think I'm crazy when I say this, especially all you journalistically inclined readers, but I honestly look forward to the day when newspapers, magazines, internet and newscasts are nothing more than venues for reporting upcoming events, fundraisers, and the recent deeds of the world's good Samaritans.

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  1. Reminds me of Law and Order SVU.

    "When the job doesn't get to you anymore, THATS when its time to quit"

    Sometimes I feel that the media likes to ONLY report on the sad stuff. Its just not as SHOCKING to hear about a great teacher, or someone who cares for the elderly in their neighborhood. Just doesn't sell. I wish people could get a little more joy out of those reportings as opposed to all the horrible stuff.

    Good luck!!

  2. the news is generally a HUGE DOWNER, but such is life.

    and it seems that fear mongering is HUGE right now, which annoys me to all end (this is directed at FOX NEWS, those fucktards).

    i heard the saddest story on the news the other day: two twin toddlers drowned in their pool, and the mom was inside the house when it happened. they gave no other explanation. horrifying.

  3. @McGriddle Pants: You hit the nail on the head - it doesn't sell. It's my belief that as soon as society doesn't want to hear those kinds of stories anymore we'll start to see less and less of those kinds of actions.

    @drollgirl: That is sad. We've had what seems to be a maelstrom of sad news like that lately.

  4. My only reason to watch NCIS? Michael Weatherly(Dinozzo). I lurv him...

    Anyway, on the moral topic of your post, the world isn't as bad as we think it is. There's so much good, we just tend to emphasize the bad for, you know, shock value. Which sucks, but what can you do?

  5. In defense of my career, the "shock value" really doesn't have that much of an impact on how real news stations put together their shows or how real newspapers put together their issues. The sad thing is that all the people who do it simply for the shock value (or to hear the sound of their own voice) get lumped in with us.