Thursday, January 14, 2010

Those evil vultures

So a colleague here at work informed me today that I was apparently mentioned in a recent Pitch article.

Okay, so I admit it. It's a prerequisite that in order to be a television reporter, you have to cut out your heart (which is probably black as coal anyway) and sell your soul to the devil. Learning how to do the "circling like a vulture" trick is the hardest to learn in journalism school.

Look, I have a thick skin. I don't take the words of some self-righteous reporter personally. But I told my parents about the article, joking, "hey they could have at least spelled my name right!" My parents responded in the comments section. I was a little embarrassed at first when I read it, but then I realized that what my parents wrote was beautiful and touching, and speaks passionately about the human condition.
So I wanted to share what they wrote:

Jan & Kent says:

As parents who tragically lost our son at age 19, we would like to say that while we never had a microphone thrust in our face, we always appreciated the expression of concern and condolences, no matter the source. And because our son was working off camera at a TV station when he died we were very touched when the anchor expressed on-air condolences to Jason's family and friends. We taped that and still have it. Twenty years later we still weep when we watch that.

The media can help to make connections among people and tell the stories of those who are lost. Some do it better than others. Tess Koppelman does an outstanding job in our opinion - probably because she remembers the difficulty of losing her brother, Jason, 20 years ago on September 13, 1989. We know that she is not just doing her job, but that she is doing it with compassion and caring. We know that, because we know her well. She is our daughter and best friend.

Reporters see so much tragedy in their work, and we have seen our daughter weep privately over some of those stories and rage over others. Reporters are people with feelings and families and histories. They want to tell the stories to humanize the tragedies. We want to hear the stories to become more human. We all become connected when we do so. As Garrison Keillor has said, "grief makes relatives of us all."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Bus Riders Stranded

The snow and blizzard-like conditions caused major delays for all bus routes heading north from Kansas City.


When I first got to the bus depot this morning, the people were being told the buses might leave that evening, but by the time I got there for my live shot at 6pm, they were being told that bus routes were being suspended "indefinitely" or at least until Monday. And Greyhound was not offering these passengers refunds because they bought "non-refundable" tickets. I'd just like to point out that many of these passengers were low income and can't afford to just say "oh forget it, I'm taking the train." They can't just take a cab to the closest hotel until their bus finally leaves. Many of these folks were en-route from Texas or Oklahoma, so they don't have friends or family to stay with. These folks are truly STRANDED.