I would like to dedicate this entire reflection to the swine flue. Excuse me, H1N1.....
I feel as if there is not enough coverage of this horrendous infection. NOT! When does it get to be too much? This horrible flu bug has now become humorous to most people around America. It's the butt of many jokes. If someone coughs, it's funny to ask if they have swine flu. I will admit to getting in on this fun. I can't resist. I also feel that since I am a journalist, it's my duty to stop the coverage. I'm sure any producer around would smack the next person to pitch a swine flu story idea.
As a part of the media, pushing this coverage is stupid and irresponsible. All we're doing is scaring people. There are innocent audience members out there who believe anything we tell them. They don't always listen completely and as a result, they remain ignorant and just assume that since something is covered so heavily, it is a huge deal.
Don't get me wrong, I know that swine flu is a big deal, but not big enough to be in every newscast multiple times. Obama, Nixon, etc. Everyone is talking about it. If President Obama gives it attention, then it is a big deal. But when he talks, people tend to listen, meaning he has the final say. I have seen swine flu coverage on YouTube, Twitter, Nightly News, the Post Dispatch, KOMU, Facebook, Google News, BBC Online, CNN, VH1's Best Week Ever, the New York Times, and many other places. I'm pretty sure the word has spread further than the disease itself. Stop and breathe for a second (As long as you have a protective surgical mask. Joking!).
Personal News Gathering Process:
For the first time ever, I had a problem with too many sources for a story. I completed my final KOMU reporting shift of the semester on Wednesday. I was assigned to a story about two pit bull dogs who attacked customers in the Walmart parking lot and then went to another parking lot where police ultimately shot one dog down and lost the other one when it ran away. I felt bad for the dog, even though it was out of it's place. Police arrested the owner on two counts and Animal Control got the dog the next day after a neighbor who had been searching all day for the dog brought it into the Humane Society.
Let's count my sources.
1) The police (who were not helpful at all)
2) A man in his early 20s who was at Walmart when the dogs were attacking and went over to Kohl's to protect other customers when the dogs made their way over there.
3) a woman who called in the story initially before any press release. She was a dog lover and didn't want to let this go unreported.
4) A man who worked at GNC by Walmart who was attacked by one dog but didn't want to be interviewed because he was a little loopy from the pain medication.
5) The neighbor of the owner who called in to say he found the dog.
6) and one other person who called in to say that they saw the dogs escape around 10 am, called Animal Control and they didn't do anything.
It was so difficult to report this story because I didn't want to let anyone down. I wish I had more time to tell all sides, but luckily I had a VO/SOT and a web story to write. That helped a little bit, but didn't solve my problem. I usually have a problem with not enough sources or contacts. This was a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, my video was so-so and I didn't think to get store parking lot video, a mug-shot of the owner, or 911 call recordings.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Working at KOMU is such a learning experience. I'm learning to recognize my own mistakes, but I still need a lot more experience. Next semester my friends. Next semester.
Embrace summer when it's finally here loves!