I hear it every day. “You news media people are too liberal,” or “too conservative,” or “too negative,” “too sensational,” “dishonest,” misleading,” and many others. We’re hiding the truth, we’re telling too much, we’re stirring the pot, we’re missing the real story….we’re just plain evil.
I’m used to it by now. We’re human, we make mistakes, and despite our best efforts, I’m not 100% proud of our output each day. Unlike my younger days, when there were three networks, a couple of wire services and a few weekly news magazines, today’s news media is crowded with names like Huffington, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Inside Edition, Fox News, MSNBC, TMZ and the rest. Some are trustworthy, others not so much. Some people even get their news from Facebook posts, which is really frightening.
So, like it or not, those of us who work in news are lumped in the same barrel with folks who aren’t good journalists, and in some cases not very good people. That’s why I’m not surprised when I contact someone about doing a story, and their immediate response is, “Are you going to make us look bad?”
That’s why I’m sharing a brief story that was written by Michelle Heron, a young reporter who has worked the night shift at WRCB for about a year now. Monday, she was sent to interview officials in Meigs County about a mold problem in the courthouse. Register of Deeds Janie Stiner agreed to be interviewed, and the story ran Monday night on the late news. That’s all in a day’s work. But for those of you who think news reporters are heartless and uncaring, please red Michelle’s account of what happened before the interview. I work with some good people, even if they are part of that “evil media” you hear about all the time. Michelle will take it from here:
Some people just touch your heart. I met this woman today on a story. She had about an hour of notice that I was coming. Within minutes of meeting her, I knew she was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She was extremely nervous about being interviewed, which is normal. She didn’t know what to expect: the types of questions, and she didn’t want to look bad on TV.
She said, “People are going to think I look dumb with this pink streak in my hair.” While I thought it was a little odd for someone of her age to have pink hair, I quickly told her she had nothing to worry about, as I was adjusting the camera. It was at that moment, she opened up.
“It’s October,” she said. “I’m doing this for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’m fighting breast cancer.” Suddenly, the settings on my camera were no longer important. I couldn’t believe she was worried about what others would think, with all of the other things she’s facing.
The more I listened to her story, I heard what she wasn’t saying: the struggles, the fears and the pain that come with the diagnosis.
I hope this woman and the thousands of others facing the same battle never feel embarrassed for what they are going through. Rock that pink hair, Janie. Never be embarrassed about your fight.