Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Mike McCarthy - Sky News

First posted 22nd February, 2010

The first session of Journalism Week was with Mike McCarthy of Sky News, and was informative, intriguing and amusing. One of the most effective - and poignant - moments for me was when he was discussing the dangers of Conflict Reporting, and how his colleagues never even considered that they might not return. In careful terms, he explained how he - and presumably others - have had to consider plans for, as he put it, their own 'departure'.

At that moment, the true risk of reporting was illuminated for me. Of course, the danger to a reporter on the Yorkshire Evening Post doesn't really compare to the risk facing a Foreign Correspondent based in some global hotspot - but at the apex of this industry are presumably those jobs, reporting on stories that need to get out - even under fire, under protest, under threat. I've always been fascinated by Conflict Reporting, as true news on the front line (so to speak) and it really drove home for me the importance - and danger - inherent in the profession I've so recently joined.

Mike also discussed reporting on painful and upsetting incidents of domestic news, and as I listened I realised there is equal risk to your mental equilibrium communicating home-grown horror stories, as there is describing artillery fire from a hotel roof in some urban warzone. His recollections of reporting on the Hillsborough tragedy came across 'edited', carefully controlled - and he acknowledged to us all the honest, personal pain he felt as a result of being one of the first journalists on the scene.
As I absorbed this information, a new question rose up to replace the more detached and professional inquiry I had ready. How would you, an experienced reporter advise us - raw recruits in the media world - how to handle the emotional fallout of dissecting the raw side of human nature? What methods exist to shield your sentimentality and soul from regular exposure to the very worst the modern world can offer?

Unfortunately there was no time and, I suspect, no real answer to that question except painful experience and grit persistence.

No comments:

Post a Comment