Wednesday, October 22, 2008

REPORTER BLOG: Realizing the Resemblance during Election Time

by Alex Moorhead

With all the election hype going on, the newsroom has covered many political stories, national and local. I’ve heard countless people outside the newsroom say that they can’t wait for it to end. I did a profile story on the two men who are fighting to become the new Athens County Sheriff. When I spoke to them of course both pitched their campaign, what they want to do and there was some bad-mouthing the opponent involved.

Not for Me
On the way home from both the interviews I kept thinking to myself I would hate for my career to be completely throwing myself out there; depending on the public to elect me; constantly trying to please them and at some times disappointing them. I am so grateful we have people who choose to be politicians, but I was just thinking how that’s not for me. I was trying to understand how they felt during campaigning, of all the stress and how people perceive them.

We’re more Alike than I Thought…
Then other jobs came to mind where people have to depend on public perception too. Comparing my job, for example, to a politician’s—I have to depend on people to agree to be interviewed because I need to get the story. Some people are willing to talk, but there are always people who will shoot you down when you really need to talk to them to inform the public and get the facts.

The Pleasing
When it comes to the people-pleasing aspect of politics and how it relates to reporting, sometimes I have to sit through an interview and listen to someone I totally disagree with. I have to remind myself that my opinion is not important and what is important is the story I need to tell the audience. I have to nod my head and make people feel comfortable when it comes to interviewing so I can get the whole story from them. As a hypothetical situation, I may have to interview a serial killer some day and make him/her them feel as comfortable as possible so I can relay that information.

The Rep
Media as a career, I think, has a bad connotation. Reporters are sometimes accused of twisting stories around or being biased. They are portrayed as scavengers or desensitized humans when something tragic happens and they’re trying to get the scoop. In such a tabloid world, many people confise paparazzi with journalists. Just like some people think politicians have bad reputations and are viewed as liars, twisting their campaigns.

I Understand Now Because We’re All Alike!
The truth is that we’re both simply trying to do our jobs. We do what we need to do, and although we both have negative reputations at times there will always be people aspiring to be the best politicians, or journalists. The world would be totally lost without them just like every other job in America. The whole point of a job is to serve people and different jobs do it in different ways. If this election has taught me anything, it is that politicians don’t only do it for their own pleasure, but also to serve the public. Just like me as a reporter.

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