A Virginia senator proposed a bill that would have banned reporters — or anyone else — from visiting anyone who suffered a tragedy in Virginia. In talking about the bill, the senator called we reporters “scuzzballs” for our efforts to talk to such people.
Thankfully, the bill was rejected and never made it out of committee.
Sure, there are reporters who swoop in and don’t care about the survivors and only want the story. Most reporters, however, are much more sensitive to our fellow human beings. Sure, we have a job to do, but we’re going to be sensitive.
When I talk to a family, I make sure they’re O.K. with talking before I launch into my questions. If they’re not and don’t want to talk, I don’t force myself onto the situation. I tell them to call me if they feel ready to talk. And in the end, most times I receive a call back. I get told I’m respectful and they thank me for being so.
Proposing such bills is punishing the majority for something the minority of reporters are doing. We have hearts. We have emotions too.