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Hi! I’m a tv reporter, and I pulled this picture up this afternoon in the newsroom. I knew immediately that the comments would be filled with hatred. We get a lot of it. Some of it deserved, but not nearly as much as people seem to believe.
I just wanted to shed some light as to why there may be a few smiles and smirks among the crowd.
A lot of people have already shared good insight, but I figured I could explain with a little first hand experience.
**Um, that’s an awkward situation**
Not the announcing of an attack on America. The sprint. The physical act of running from wherever the briefing was to wherever your wire is. Just imagine the situation for a minute. They went to a briefing, were given information, asked questions, and then finally, were dismissed. They hadn’t just heard the news and taken off in disgusting fame-seeking frenzy. They had been through a meeting together, and at some point, one person decided he had enough info, took off and the rest chased after him. It’s pretty silly for grown men, and you better believe they knew it on some level. They’re not running full force down the hallway either. They’re awkwardly shuffling through the door then hustling along. Look at the guy “in second”. He’s not running full speed. He’s doing that awkward half-run you do when you’re not sure if it’s raining hard enough to justify you running at all. If I know reporters, one of them made a wisecrack abt the moment just before taking off through the door.
Which leads me to my next point…
**You get used to it**
That doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means your coping mechanisms are way over-developed.
This is what our job is like. Every day I go to work and someone has died. And they almost all have families and people who will miss them. And I feel for them. But journalism would collapse in on itself if we internalized that all the time.
Do you assume that soldiers like killing people every time you see a soldier smile while on duty?
We often joke around with each other in dark times, because it’s the only way to tolerate the immense weight of what we immerse ourselves in all the time.
These guys or someone in their operation will have to announce to the American people that the US is going to war. That’s an incredible burden. And the way they address that burden will be handled with grave seriousness. But it becomes too much when every adjacent moment must also carry with it such incredible solemnity.
Journalists do some disgusting things when they get all caught up in “the game”. But the VAST majority of us are just doing an incredibly difficult and emotionally taxing job. It’s not easy to understand without immersing yourself with it.
However, if you don’t mind, I’d like to impart to you the one truth that stands out above all others in my journalism career…
We’re all just people. Good, bad, and ugly.
Our job in large part is to draw that out through our stories, but no one is willing to do it for us in return.