I was in my mid-twenties 22 years ago when I walked into the number one local news station in the country. Within minutes people were rushing around, figuring out travel arrangements to go to Colorado to cover the Columbine shooting. It was my first introduction to how a news staff plans breaking news coverage. I was overwhelmed, in awe, and began to doubt that I’d chosen the right career.
I watched the monitors intensely. I saw kids who went to school to learn get an education in the evils and violence in the world. Some climbied out windows. Others walked out of the building with the hands up. Everyone was changed. I thought that tragic incident was an anomaly. I had no idea what the next two decades would bring but it’s been quite an eye opening experience.
I was reflecting on my anniversary while writing stories including one on Derek Chauvin’s trial, Black Rob’s death and an Asian hate crime this morning when an email flashed on my screen. It mentioned yet another mass shooting. This one was at a supermarket on Long Island. A few minutes later, I saw my name was attached to one of the reporters slated to cover it. I pondered what My younger self would think about all the stories I’ve written and the events I’ve seen. I don’t know if she could’ve imagined any of it.
I don’t know if I can or want to write for a daily newscast for another 22 years. But, I’m amazed at how quickly the first 22 have passed. Despite the sometimes long hours and stressful day, I’ve excelled at news despite having an autoimmune disease.
I hope my words have educated someone about the world they live in, the people in it or the experiences they may want to try. I’m also still hopeful that people will learn from our shared history; that we will treat each other better, respect our differences , exist more peacefully and give the next generation a chance at a better future.