Wednesday, April 2, 2008

When the News is Bad

Ryan and I always joke that when I am having a bad day it means the world is having a good one. No, this isn't some kind of "I started to cry which started the whole world laughing" kind of thing, it's just that when things are going on in the world it makes it easier to do my job and write the news -- and usually the things happening aren't exactly pleasant. Of course, there are "bad things" that are more enjoyable to write about than others -- political scandals, for example. God bless Eliot Spitzer. But there are some "bad things" that are just unpleasant and stomach turning no matter who you are, or how many minutes of a show it fills -- like the death of a child. For the past two days we have been dealing with such a story.

Hser Nay Moo was a 7-year old Burmese immigrant was last seen at her family's apartment in South Salt Lake Monday night. They found her body last night in another apartment not far from where she lived. Police say she was likely dead before her parents even knew she was missing. They say that so that people don't feel bad, so that they don't think they could have done something to save her. But every time I think of it I just feel a little more sick, and sad that a girl trying to find a better life with her family instead wound up dead.

Ryan knows I have been stewing about this story, and today asked me if it might be a good idea to see a therapist to talk about work stress. Um, no. First of all, I have a therapist, and we really try to keep our relationship from getting personal. She gives me drugs, I give her a check, and we don't talk about our private lives. It works for both of us. Also, if I did want to talk, why would I want to talk about work? I don't even like to talk about work while I'm at work. No, I think the way I handle the impact of a heartbreaking story like this is fine. I just squeeze it into a small ball of resentment towards the human race and push it deep down inside of me, and wait to see what will happen later on.

Okay, that was a little flippant, but still better than the standard response from people in the business. Most say "I separate my life from what I report." Oh, yeah, because that is really possible. Now, I know this business is filled with heartless people who would sell their mothers for a good sound bite, but I don't think anyone can remain untouched after reporting on tragedy after tragedy -- not even the people at FOX. I know this story, like others before it, and I'm sure many to come, will eat at all of us for a while. So, we'll all hug our families, and lock our doors, and try to remember that most people in the world are good. Because the belief that these "bad things" that populate the news are aberrations in daily life is the only thing that makes it bearable. Well, that and booze...