CNN decided to interview one of the victims of the floods in Texas to ‘inform their viewers’.
The guy they interviewed had a lesson for THEM, instead.
Put yourself in the victims’ shoes for a moment.
You’ve spent a lifetime building a life for yourself. Built a home.
You’ve filled it with memories.
Photos. Videos. Keepsakes.
Maybe a wedding dress.
Heirloom dishes, or quilts that your grandmother made.
A piano or violin that’s been in the family for generations.
Even those silly little Mother’s Day presents the kids made way back in Kindergarten.
And suddenly, the storm comes, and it’s gone.
All of it.
Now you’ve got a camera in your face so that reporters can provide footage of what’s been cynically (or maybe honestly) called ‘weather porn’.
It’s a simple formula: make sure the shot has the most devastated, splintered homes you can find (or better still, vacant lots where a home USED to be) and stick a microphone in the face of the heartbroken people who lived there.
One resident pushed back when it was his turn to have the microphone stuffed into his face. And it was refreshing.
“I didn’t care to be on TV, but I just want to tell all y’all reporters and the people here, when you’re here, act like this is y’all’s home,” Joe Kirchens, a Rockport resident, said. “You know, have the respect to report like this is y’all’s… you know, this place is gone so we need help.”
He continued from there.
But his main point is spot on.
In the hurry to ‘tell the story’ about ‘the event’ we must not be so shallow as to forget that this ‘event’ happened to actual, heartbroken, devastated human beings.
Let’s all try to keep that in mind while reporting, or reading, stories about ‘what happened’.
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by Doug Giles
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