“Find the emotion.”
TV reporters and photojournalists hear that refrain often. Our medium, after all, lends itself less to in-depth analysis and more to visceral video. As such, we often receive assignments that offer the greatest potential to witness raw feelings.
But rarely are we asked to push beyond those feelings.
We are told to put our most emotional moments at the front of our stories, not set them up with context. We are sent to horrific scenes and given little time, both on site and in newscasts, to get a sense beyond the basic. We are pushed to keep things moving.
So often, though, such a philosophy produces reports that only connect on a surface level – and, while powerful in the moment, are almost immediately forgotten.
I want my stories to be remembered. More importantly, I want the people in my stories – the ones who open themselves to news coverage at extremely vulnerable times – to be remembered.
This past month, I received two specific opportunities to tell such stories. I tried to produce pieces that would provide both powerful moments and the depth and poignancy to earn them.