After much thought, years of experience and conversations with others, I had reached this conclusion: Journalists handle emotions differently than other people. We have the ability to withhold emotions in many cases.
The topic was pretty well-covered in my news soulmate Stacey’s blog a few weeks ago, so I stayed away from it. But then, someone we both worked closely with for years – someone who was only 29-years-old – just died. So I got to see firsthand how a bunch of journalists handle devastating, shocking news that hits close to home.
Journalists tend to be desensitized. For every piece of video you think is graphic or every line in a script you think may have been too descriptive, a journalist likely saw or read a lot worse from that story. And while there are always the positive or fun stories throughout the day, we deal with a lot of grit that a lot of others don’t ever have to think about. Because we have the ability to withhold our emotions more successfully than a lot of people, some think we are emotionless. That simply isn’t the case.
But what this week has taught me is that many journalists don’t only handle emotions differently; we react to things differently. We make inappropriate comments or we just move on as if we never heard the news. I think it’s a way of coping and skipping the sadness…at least temporarily.
I wonder if this is a journalist thing or if it’s just something certain people do – with a lot of those people winding up in journalism. Were we always like this and journalism just gives us a way to hide our reactions that others may consider inappropriate for the situation? Or did the job shape our emotional reactions to things?