My fiancé did not want to hear it.
I had just turned on an interview I had conducted with a coworker, Jeff Hullinger, that I would eventually post as a podcast. I left the interview running in the living room as my fiancé walked in, hung out for a minute, and walked back out.
Why? Because Hullinger had earlier that week witnessed an execution, and in the interview he described in powerful detail what he saw.
“I hope that interview wasn’t too much for you,” I said later to my fiancé.
Her response? “Yeah, I went into the other room and closed the door.”
The curtness in her voice made it clear how she felt.
This situation is not unique to me. Hullinger’s wife, he said, had given him a clear instruction when he accepted the execution assignment: “I don’t ever want to hear about it.”
This situation is also not unique to my life … and that concerns me.
I accepted long ago that I receive, as a journalist, an extraordinary amount of access unavailable to most. That access is often a treasure: I have traveled to the Olympics, interviewed countless celebrities and public figures, and enjoyed fascinating and probing conversations with people I otherwise never would have met.
In other cases, that access is a burden, a necessary evil in the journey to inform. (more…)