Running into the face of danger

I want to start my thoughts tonight by saying that my heart goes out to the victims of this horrific tragedy in Boston this afternoon. At time of writing there are 3 dead and 117 injured according to multiple media sources.

Al Tompkins posted today one of the things that I was thinking watching the video coming out of Boston. In all of the video that I have watched of the horrific events that transpired this afternoon in Boston, you can clearly see two groups of people running in the opposite directions of the crowds: the first responders and the journalists.

Both of those groups managed to put aside personal safety, as they had no idea how many more bombs could be in the area, as they ran into that area. The first responders, heroically, tending to the injured and the journalists, witnessing the horrific things that we do, to keep the people at home informed of what was happening, to tell the stories of the people down there, and to get out the emergency information needed to keep people safe.

I don’t want to downplay the actions of the first responders, and I don’t want to overshadow the magnitude of what happened today. But… The journalists working on the ground will be forever scarred by the events that happened today. Well…not just those on the ground, but their producers, tape editors, control room crews, etc. who have all seen the un-edited, raw video that is coming in from the scene. Those kinds of pictures, many of which you never see on your television screens at home, leave a lasting impression on you. Believe me when I say this, as I have first-hand experience having been in a newsroom on 9/11/01 and watching an un-edited CNN NewsSource feed from New York City. And those who have covered the event on the ground or in the control room today will be working late into the night, running mostly on adrenaline. It won’t fully hit them until later tonight, or tomorrow, or next week what exactly happened today. I imagine that among the journalists (and first responders) that there will be a lot of “OMG” moments to come.

Why I’m scared of that big event

So I have been completely enthralled by the show Scandal. I have seen bits and pieces of the show previously thanks to my previous roommate who was completely in love with the show.

So the episode that I am currently watching is the aftermath of the episode where the President got shot. Interspersed in the episode are cut-aways of breaking news updates. Quite honestly, I live for breaking news. But…I cannot imagine, for one minute, what being in the chair for a news event of that size is like. I’ve been through a lot of news events in my roughly 10 years. I know the pressure, the panic, the terror. I’ve been in the chair for severe weather, the aftermath of floods and tornados, mass shootings, major fires, etc. I’ve called protests at the state capitol in Madison, and the night that put the people in office that sparked the protest. And quite honestly, being in the chair for an event such as this, scares me.

Why does it scare me?

I’m damn good at my job. I don’t, even for a second, doubt my ability to call and/or switch a show in a moment of sheer panic that would be the case in the control room, newsroom, nation, etc. in a situation such as this. But… It scares me because of the magnitude of the situation. The sheer number of eyeballs that will be on what is coming out of my control room. The fact that any small mistake made in there will be seen by millions. And yes, even the best of us will make a mistake in a situation like that. I’m human, not perfect. And that is what scares me.

All said and done, I still have dreams of being the person who does the big events. But that doesn’t mean I’m not scared of being the person in that chair. And quite honestly, I’m probably better in the chair because of that.