Music artist Jack Johnson has a song called, "The News" in which he sings, "Why don't the newscasters cry when they read about people who die?" "At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eyes."
Well, I'm here to inform Jack Johnson and everyone else: this newscaster does cry, has tears in her eyes and gets depressed over sad news. Especially recently.
We are used to ebb and flow in the newsroom. Some days or weeks are slow, others are busy, but these past few months, it seems like non-stop tragedy. Locally and nationally.
We've had several drownings, deadly fires and two young girls hit by cars. There's the Iraq War vet killed when he fell off a rollercoaster and another local soldier who died serving his country. There's the Casey Anthony case and the Jaycee Dugard story, that was so upsetting, I couldn't watch Diane Sawyer's interview.
There's the eight year old boy dismembered in New York, and there are killer tornadoes striking all over the U.S.
I remember when I was a rookie in this business, earning my stripes in Elmira when tragedy struck at the Steuben County Social Services Department. Someone walked into the Support Collection Unit and started shooting. Several people died. After stoically covering the story for days, I remember coming home, sitting at the kitchen table and crying.
The crash of Flight 3407 also comes to mind. My co-anchor and I stayed on the air for eight straight hours. It's the worst story I have ever reported on, hands down.
The death and destruction left me feeling like I was in a fog for months.
Despite your own reactions, you can't properly cover a story if you're not in control of your emotions, and you certainly can't clearly present a story in an emotional state. Viewers, whether they realize it or not, rely on us to be the calming force during a crisis.
So, for your information Jack Johnson, I have plenty of teary eyes in the field and on the set. This newscaster is feeling it, too, but I'm just doing my job.