I didn’t know Alison Parker or Adam Ward, but I know so many people who are just like them — young, bright-eyed journalists working long, hard hours hoping to make a difference in their communities. They lift viewers up with stories of hope and perseverance and work hard to expose injustices and wrongdoing.
It is far from an easy job.
You often get angry e-mails from viewers. Sometimes creepy letters from prison. Occasionally, someone will do something obscene while you’re trying to report on live television. But I don’t think any of us who work in television news imagined something so horrific would unfold, ending the lives of two journalists.
The world is often unfair and I especially feel that today. Alison and Adam were doing their jobs, reporting from what should have been a completely safe location, on a story that wasn’t controversial. How could this happen?
When tragedies occur, it often forces us to reflect on our own lives. This one hits close to home. The TV news business is a small one. As reporters and anchors jump from market to market every couple of years, the web of connections between all of us in the business grows. You always seem to know someone who knows someone. And newsrooms are some of the most close-knit environments you’ll find. You work marathon shifts together reporting on stories that are often hard to tell and try to make sense of it all when you go home at the end of the day. It’s no wonder colleagues quickly become family.
That’s what makes this story such a difficult one to process. I didn’t know Alison and Adam, but they’re part of this bizarre business that drives us crazy and at the same time fuels our passion. They’re TV news family. The entire business is heartbroken.
I want to do something to help, but it’s hard to know how. Scholarships are setup in honor of Alison and Adam. But, if you can’t donate, I ask that you do this: thank a local journalist. It’s something that doesn’t happen all that often. We tend to hear from people when we’ve gotten something wrong or made them mad. But journalism at the local level is so important. We go to council meetings so you don’t have to. We report live from the crime scenes to keep you safe. And we happily bring you feature stories that highlight the good in a world that many days appears too grim.
Shoot an e-mail to a local columnist, a radio host or a reporter and let them know that you value the work they do and the sacrifices they make to keep your community informed.
We can’t thank you enough, Alison and Adam.