Thursday, December 13, 2007

The depressing part about my job

SUNCREST, Wash. - That's how I write a web story. Every little web entry I type starts with a town and an AP (Associated Press) style of state abbreviation. Tonight I was sitting at my desk and I heard a call come across on the scanner...."House Fire". I knew it was bad when I heard it. I knew the fire was bad and when the fire crews got on the scene and said what they saw over the scanner, I knew it was very bad. But none of that is reportable. I refuse to report scanner traffic. I have a code and a duty to my viewing public not to report anything unless it has been confirmed. Unlike other media agencies in this market who shall remain nameless. I don't care if I get scooped as long as my credibility remains intact.

I told my morning producers before I left that I felt in my gut that this fire was a fatality. I told them not to report on that until it was confirmed because it was just my gut. But I knew someone died in this fire. Listening to the scanner and talking to the Sheriff's Dispatch, who told me when I asked if anyone was inside that house, "I can't discuss that with you." I knew at that moment that someone was dead.

We were the first ones to report that there was a fatality from the fire. All because of my tenacious desk skills. But that doesn't' make me happy. I got the scoop, and I was correct, but somebody's father, or brother, or son died. It just makes me a very sad that MY GUT...can tell me when someone is dead when I'm miles away from said incident. That's not a skill that I ever hoped to hone. But I honed it, and I'm very good at it.

I found a niche and something I'm good at. I'm a good journalist. It just hurts a lot sometimes that I'm a little too good at my job. I've seen dead bodies in the field and I've sent others to get the story on dead bodies and the bad things that people do to each other. I just wish that the badness in people and the world would just stop. Because I don't want the badness to hurt anyone I know ever again.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

P.S. On the plus side I pitched really good Christmas light story and it was our 10pm lead.