As we go into another long weekend and we are bombarded by reminders to drive safe, slow down, don’t be distracted, what they are really trying to tell you is, life is fragile.
While accidents don’t happen, collisions do, and sometimes, with tragic consequences. Keeping in mind that life is fragile, I want to explain a little more, what people like myself do on days like this past Wednesday.
When these tragedies happen, we are asked to go and bring you information in an expedited manner, using all the skills and contacts we have. In the world of “instant information”, “facts” are often misguided and, at best, unverified. Eye-witness accounts are always the least factual, it’s been proven, but sometimes it is what we have to go with and sometimes they are indeed mistaken.
Alas, we are human, and we all make mistakes. We had received information, after the initial report, saying there were six cars instead of four. Additionally, mistakes were made in naming the wrong code at a hospital. In a fast breaking story, despite multiple confirmations, mistakes still do happen and I will admit when we do make them.
What isn’t a mistake- When I hop onto social media and see people with no training nor ability to confirm anything, saying 12 people have been killed or other such far-fetched “facts”. That is the bad side of social media, which does nothing but ratchet up everyone’s fear that one of their loved ones might have been involved.
Multiple factors come into play including previous experience, training, ethics and severity of what I am seeing. Sometimes we get conflicting information from multiple reliable sources. Sometimes we know stuff the public should know, but want to wait for official word, but mostly, I want to protect my viewers and victims from seeing some of what I see.
No one needs to see a picture of a body in the middle of a roadway. No one needs to see the picture of firefighters pulling a lifeless body out of the burning building. No one needs to see parts of people laying in roadways, nor do they need that description.
No one needs to see pictures of victims of crime or collision, and although some people may think they want to see, trust me, you don’t.
I appreciate the trust people put into SaultOnline for our efforts in bringing up to date, information on rapidly evolving situations in our community. I appreciate all the phone calls, FB messages, story tips and e-mails I get. I appreciate when someone stops me to talk in a grocery store or on a walk. Personally, I’d rather meet you that way then if you were part of the story I was covering.
This is more than a job to me; this is a passion, a passion of bringing stories of everyday life to people, because in the end, the truth of the matter is as we go into another long weekend-
Life is fragile.