Before COVID, usually the biggest thing a reporter got called out on was a typo of a simple word or the misspelling of someone’s name. I never thought I would miss those days.
Now on publication day I dread the hostility that is going to flood my email and phone.
The last few weeks have been interesting. Each day there seems to be one article that really gets everyone worked up, it’s not my goal but it happens.
Now, most of my mornings start by cleaning up the comments on Facebook, most calling me a liar or accusing me of getting money from the government (trust me, my Value Village work clothes were not bought by dirty government money). There have even been a few threats of violence.
I get it, we don’t all agree on things right now. We’re all a little burnt out and stressed out and none of us were taught how to navigate a world where suddenly our own Grandmother or Father has a drastically different view on a topic that is consuming all of our lives for the past year and a half.
The confusing thing is that some people are jumping to conclusion on what my views might be, based on what I write or publish. A good journalist is supposed to be non-biased and it feels weird to even write this column because I honestly try to stay in between.
Before COVID I had friends who chose not to vaccinate their kids, before COVID I had different religous views than some of my friends and family and before COVID I had different family planning ideas than others.
Before COVID, others thought different and it was okay why would it suddenly be wrong now?
Don’t assume I am not open to hearing your side or researching your sources. Contact me and let’s have a chat, if only one side presents me with their view and their idea that is the only side I can present.
Last week, Adele from Red Deer contacted me with some questions on an article I had recently written. In the end we weren’t really on the same side, neither of us had made a sudden leap to the other side, but as she said in her call to me, that’s fine, that’s not the point. She had some unanswered questions after reading my article and admittedly it wasn’t anger directed at me, but more at the organization that she felt could be telling Albertans more during times like these. She asked me those questions and since I could not answer them myself from the things I had asked or found out, it sparked me to do some further research and further the article.
Sometimes the other side does need to speak up to raise those questions, to complete my reporting. When you are immersed in the article and your sources you get a little bit of tunnel vision.
I am honestly open to hearing both sides, some of the best stories come from the other side bringing new information forward. Something to research and look into. A source is not another publication, when I say source I mean a professional or business that is an expert on a topic or an employee of a related company or project.
I got into journalism to meet people from different walks of life and different views. To learn things and experience things different from my life.
I don’t mind hearing that you think what I am reporting on is wrong but I don’t like fearing coming to work. I’m not asking you to squash the opposition I’m just asking for a bit of understanding and a little less ‘I choose violence’.
When I leave this office I am just a mom of a 7 year old boy, trying to match up socks once they make it through the laundry and trying to navigate this really weird world like the rest.