On Crises And The People We Meet At Them
We aren’t first responders and we go to dangerous scenes and natural disasters such as the one in Texas to report, not rescue. There are others trained to do that work. We don’t have their skills and we don’t have their equipment.
That said, if we find ourselves in situations where another person is in danger, we can try to help if no one else is there or our assistance would make an important difference.
As Reveal host Al Letson said Monday on All Things Considered about why he jumped in to shield a white nationalist being beaten by anti-fascists:
“I don’t want to be a part of the story, at all. And I believe in all of those journalistic ethics and all of that — but I also think that, before that, I’m a human being.”
It’s worth repeating that we don’t go into situations looking to do the work that first responders are trained to do. We also don’t go looking to insert ourselves into a story.
Again, we go to report about what’s happening and about the people who are directly affected.
But as Letson said, we’re also human beings — who, the Ethics Handbook advises, treat “everyone affected by our journalism … with decency and compassion.” That’s an important principle to keep in mind.
(“Memmos;” Aug. 29, 2017)
August 29, 2017