Continuing to Learn

One of the main purposes of the Mentorship program I am in, at the Edmonton Journal, is to learn.  I have the opportunity to learn research skills, how to properly write news stories and other writing pieces, and other skills a journalist needs to know. With my learning these new lessons in journalism, I have questions.

Last year, in May, there was a random snow storm that seemed to happen out of no where. Well that was all well and good, but something happened that day, that introduced me to something I think all journalists learn at some point in their careers. That day there was a train versus truck collision and all the occupants (one father and his two children) perished.

Now death does happen. As a long time news junkie, not much that I read about or hear about, really gets to me. This time, it was a big ton of bricks slamming down on me really hard and fast. How? I had met that man and his girls previously. So it struck me to wonder…

How do journalists separate their personal feelings, and continue to do their jobs, when the news they’re reporting on is about someone they know, or otherwise affects them on a personal level?

I’ve had a year to think about this. My best guess is, journalists are professionals and committed to their jobs. If the big story of the day, affects them personally, I believe they would just do their jobs first and then react in private.

This question has been coming up, for me, again recently. I have at least one relative who lives in Slave Lake. Their house is now destroyed due to the fire ravaging the town.

So, if any journalists are reading this… How DO you separate personal feelings in situations like these, and continue to do your job as objectively as if it were a non issue?

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