There are a lot of aspects of being a multimedia journalist that a lot of journalists can say, “Well they didn’t tell me about that in J-School.” For me, my J-School experience was made up of a little bit of school, but a huge portion was made up of my internships. One challenge I have recently been faced with, was one thing that a photographer, one of my mentors, did warn me about during one of my internships, but it still is something difficult experiencing first hand. What I’m talking about is the amount of death and destruction we are faced with pretty much on a daily basis. That mentor gave me a piece of advice I’ll never forget, he simply told me, “Don’t bring the story home with you,” he further explained by telling me that if you have covered a story that shook you to your core, make sure you deal with it before going home. If that meant going to sit in a park to digest everything or even just sitting in your car for a while, make sure you don’t NOT deal with it before going home. For him, that piece of advice was very important because he had a wife and daughter at home and I’m sure he didn’t want to go home bringing negative vibes and feeling depressed and not knowing why. It’s a smart piece of advice that I really should start practicing.
I think sometimes people forget that reporters are humans too, while maybe we can’t show how a story affects us while it is happening, we are still being exposed to it. For instance there was a 3 week stretch, where each day I was covering a very tragic story and talking to family about it. So each day I had a camera in the face of a family member or friend grieving, crying, sometimes uncontrollably. It was tough to deal with emotionally. Covering tragedies are hard, but I think to remain sane, it is also important to cover a good balance of stories that don’t involve the deepest depths of sadness.
I love covering stories that restore my faith in humanity, just recently I covered a story about a rodeo raising money for Wounded Soldiers in North Louisiana, I’ve also covered a story where a man chased down another man who stole a woman’s purse, another story comes to mind is one where an entire community rallied together to help a little girl go to Disney World who was dying of cancer.
Here are some of those stories: