A job is a job

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sometimes in the newspaper business, we get to cover events that we enjoy. Then, there are times like yesterday, when we must cover something bad like the drowning at Mitchell Dam.

When I cover the bad stuff, I don’t enjoy it. Actually my first response to something bad isn’t “yippee” or “Now, we’re cookin’.” Ask my news writers – my first response is “Oh, no” or something like that. It is the worst feeling that I can have.

I know I do take my job seriously when we do get into a breaking news mode around the office, but I understand that I don’t like getting out and taking pictures of the deceased. I do my best to never show a body when I take a picture. There have been a few times I have taken pictures of a dead victim, but they were always covered by some kind of tarp.

If I do get a picture of someone covered by a tarp, I always feel uneasy about running it. I ask myself whether this is in good taste or not. Sometimes, I’ve seen newspapers showing a trail of blood and wonder whether I would run the same picture. I can’t really say because I wouldn’t take the picture in the first place.

The news business can be difficult because you always have to ask the question, “Is this in good taste?” We have to cover the news because that’s who we are. People want to read about what’s going on. Unfortunately, that usually means bad news.

I enjoy reading about good news, and I would much prefer covering a story that contains good news. However, we have to report both the good and the bad to be a credible news source.

While I want us to be a credible news source, I also want us to be as understanding as possible when we are covering devastating stories like the drowning yesterday.

I know those families are going through more than I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.