Hard day of reporting
Trip Start Oct 30, 2010
130Trip End Ongoing
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Nina covered a very sad story. Though it relates to dogs being killed, just as sad is the position that an employee was in to have to kill animals that he had likely been charged with caring for.
She didn't notice how reporting it had affected her until a coworker asked what was wrong, what was she working on.
I found this story yesterday morning and told our wires guy that I knew I had to pitch it, but "I'm not sure I want to be the one to write it." At the same time, I felt like I'd regret it if I didn't.
When my evening boss called in early in the day, he picked up on how cheerful I was feeling and he asked what was up. I told him I was happy about having a story to work on, and just generally felt good, despite the weather -- which was bringing everyone else down.
But throughout the day, now I can say, after I acquired the report the worker filed which went into detail of the difficulty he had killing the dogs, people started to wave their arm in front of me when I wasn't making eye contact in conversation and asked me what was wrong. In order to write the piece though, I had to concentrate my emotion.
"I'm just tired," I easily explained. I was doing a 12 hour work day, which actually stretched into a 13-hour one as I didn't want to go home.
It wasn't until after I left work I realized why I hadn't wanted to eat dinner and why I didn't feel rushed to get outside the office, alone to think emotionally about the piece.
The other news assistants said it was too gruesome of a report for them to read in its entirety (merely freakin' read), though I hardly put anything gruesome in it, at least compared to what else could have been added. When I tried to explain more of the story to someone, for some personal release, all asked me not to. Frustrated me, their choice to not be informed, even by a report that drastically withheld details.
I began wishing I didn't write it, and I still have regrets (since I had the power) on not showing more side to the worker, but his identity hasn't been released yet. While his moral decision to follow orders and kill the dogs was wrong, he was doing his job. People during WWII did the exact same things to humans, and lived painfully the rest of their lives b/c of the position they were in.
And this man loved his dogs. Assuming I know who this man is (we're not releasing it), the background I found on him, gave me an idea of how happy he was prior to this -- doing what he loved and in the animal company he was always in.
One of the possible punishments if charged with animal cruelty is a lifetime ban from owning animals.
Halfway on my walk home, I remembered that these stories and feelings they inflict upon me, is precisely why I pursued journalism in the first place. I'd rather be affected by something or someone on the outside and their needs and attention, than solely my own. Life has no meaning, drive, or passion when you only live for yourself. I'd rather feel, even if when it hits me, it only allows limited quantities of other needs to filter through. The irony, it makes me feel alive.