I was a high school teacher and an education issues blogger once upon a time.
In those days I was clear that public school teachers needed advocates and I was willing to be a part of that.
And some who started about the same time are still at it, faithfully hammering away on the issues that dog public schools and their teachers.
But, for me, it all started to wear thin. As I developed my writing further I found myself going to reliable news sources for the foundation I needed to make a rational and solid point.
Eventually, I was drawn closer to the news itself. There was and still is a beauty to serving the public good by reporting the news.
Taking a rational look at what are facts and what aren’t, what is someone’s opinion and what can be verified, and a clear portrayal of sequence are all part of what we recognize as reliable news.
The best reporters learn the craft of taking a step back from biases and getting a clear sense of the story. That way, the general public is better informed and is equipped to make decisions in what they demand of their government and who they elect to run it.
If done right, it’s a difficult craft that involves some anguish for the conscientious reporter. Questions haunt us: Was I too quick to decide what the story was about? Should I have asked another follow-up question in the interview? Am I too concerned about how likable I am and so don’t ask that last, pressing question? Or, am I too combative to let the subject relax and tell me what I need to know?
These questions and hundreds more flood the minds of responsible reporters everywhere. It’s the source of anguish that eventually can burn out even the best ones.
But, what keeps most every reporter I know going is the thrill of being there. It’s the excitement of seeing first hand what is happening.
Most importantly, it’s the people we meet.
Reporting community, metro news in this city has put me in the presence of some amazing people.
Yes, communities are filled with the weird, the bizarre, the ugly and undeniably evil.
But, there is beauty in learning the strengths of common people and the powerful, too.
If the reporter is not ready to see it or has already decided on what the story is before getting out of the car, then they will miss the actual story.
The beauty in reporting is not having the task of deciding what to say and what point to make. It’s in clearing one’s mind to really listen and look, to let the story unfold and then report it.
And that is an amazing thing. It’s why I couldn’t hang it up quite yet.