Do you ever wonder how a newscaster can deliver the most horrific news story with a smile? I know I do. I have been in the industry for almost 13 years of my life, and I cannot seem to master that trick. In the past, I wondered if my emotional attachment to the news we cover made me less capable or less worthy to be part of the journalism profession.
This past week was a lesson in the difference between a profession and a calling. Surrounded by the huge media outlets, our staff covered a little boy’s disappearance. For four days we waited on updates, watched the search teams return with no news, listened as first responders made reports that brought no new leads, and stood by Sheriff as he gave yet another press conference. We stood there, recording with our cell phones as tears built in our eyes. To our right and left, the big news stations, with their state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, were able to record their sound bites and then pack up and smile at a job well done.
We did not have that luxury; this was not just another story. We were sad, heartbroken, and scared for days. Those law enforcement officers and search and rescue personnel in the background of those video clips are our friends and family. That little boy, his mother and his family are one of us. In Grimes County, when one suffers, we all feel it.
When we received the news that they found little Christopher, we hugged and cried in relief. A happy ending that could have been so much worse.
The big news stations packed up and left for other sensational news farther down the road, but our work for the week was not yet complete. Sunday, we learned a high school student from Anderson-Shiro had been killed in a car accident. There were no big media outlets to cover this story, no fancy equipment—just us with our small cameras and heavy hearts. In our community this week, one mother found her child, and another lost her child.
I cannot just relay the news and keep a smile on my face. I cannot hide behind the mask of my profession and pretend that things do not impact my life or my heart. In the course of our work, we see things that we can never unsee and hear things we can never unhear. These news events hurt in ways we will never be able to describe. Yet, we will not stop responding to the calls and reporting the news. This is more than just a profession for us, this is a calling. We know you and care about you—you are all our people and our community.
So, if you come into my office on a hard news week, do not be surprised if you find me crying instead of smiling. I still have not learned that ‘journalism’ trick, and I have no intention of doing so.
Ana Cosino is a Navasota hometown gal, Navasota High School graduate, Publisher of The Navasota Examiner but most importantly mom to her pride, Jason.