Take a walk in their shoes… and try ours on

Emergency services at the crash site on the Princes Highway in Berry. Photo: Adam McLean.
Emergency services at the crash site on the Princes Highway in Berry. Photo: Adam McLean.

As a journalist you sometimes see things you wish you hadn’t. 

You can be at a desk one minute; a crash scene the next.

It’s your job to go, gather and verify information, and keep people informed. 

In the course of this job it’s not unusual to be called scum, a vulture or worse, often by the people clamouring for the latest news. 

Some like to criticise us for invading people’s privacy - we “take pleasure in misfortunes of others,” they say. 

There are some in our industry like this. But, they are the minority. 

When I see these things, my stomach churns and my eyes swell. After all I am human too. 

Like all my colleagues. When they arrive at a fatal car crash and see devastation, like the mangled wreck in Berry last week, they were gutted. 

They marvel at brave-faced emergency crews going about their business. 

They wonder how an average Tuesday turned out this way. 

They go home after staring death in the face and figure out ways to switch off, engage with loved ones. 

They wake up in the middle of the night with images etched into their brains, unable to wipe the scenes of devastation from their minds. 

And, while some readers take to keyboards to hurl abuse and attack us, the fact is, journalists are providing facts people need to know, want to know and often love to hate. 

The proof? Our audience numbers swell in times of tragedy.

Journalists explain why you may have been stuck on the highway for hours on end. Why you should hug your baby a little bit tighter that night. Or, how you can reach out to those left behind or lobby for ways to stop tragedy from striking again.

Journalists connect us to people. Inform us of the good, shine a light on the bad and investigate misfortune. 

So, maybe consider this before penning an abusive letter or leaving a hurtful comment: Most journalists are just as gutted as you when tragedy strikes, and they’ve been out there staring it in the face and asking the hard questions. 

If I can’t sleep at night it’s not because I was a vulture. It’s because I have images cemented in my brain. 

A serial killer locking eyes for a chilling few seconds and a toddler in a car wreck, these are what keep me awake.


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