I cry a lot.
It’s perhaps not something that many people see. But I am not afraid of my emotions. I am not afraid to feel and to let people see the effects of my pain.
I feel deeply.
In the past couple weeks, two news stories have made me feel deeply. I have cried bitter tears for humanity.
Last Thursday, I woke at 6am to the sound of my radio, like I always do. Routine news to break my slumber.
Two reporters had been fatally shot live on-air by an ex-cohost.
When I watched Alison Parker and Adam Ward’s final moments on the viral video that spread across my newsfeed, I was shocked.
And then I cried.
Oh my God. They’re dead.
Yesterday, I came home to the sound of ABC News 24 playing in my living room.
The image of a Syrian toddler, facedown in the waves filled my screen.
I heard the story of his family fleeing their home, boarding a boat to oblivion with the faint glimmer of a better life across the shores.
What a horrific resting place.
And I cried.
Oh my God. They’re dead.
I work in the media. Every moment of every day I spend confronted by the horrors of the world. And every day, I quit. I tell myself I can’t take any more. I can’t take any more pain.
There is a weight on my shoulders. I am too young to carry it. I am too naive to change it. Its name is objectivity.
Objectivity is my judge and jury. When I cry, I know I have not lived up to its standards.
And at the tender age of twenty-two, with less than four year’s experience in the media industry I have this to say:
Objectivity is the death of action and without action, there is no democracy.
In my second year of university, my tutor asked me to read an article called ‘Fatal Distractions’, about parents who had accidentally killed their children.
Openly, publicly, I grieved for these families.
And she told me to harden up or I’d never make it in the media. I’d never make it in the real world. She told me to swallow my feelings, hide them from the world and just do my job.
I made her this promise: the day I lose my emotions, the day I harden up is the day I can no longer do my job.
All my career, people have told me that objectivity is king and I stand contrary to it when I let my emotions manifest. I ask, why?
Your colourless news taints your vision of the world. Your objectivity may be king, but he is a cruel dictator who keeps truth and progress at bay.
My job as a journalist is not only to tell you the facts. My job is to make you feel.
I want to anger you, but I never want you to hate.
I want to sadden you, but I never want to depress you.
I want to hurt you, but I never want to destroy you.
I want you to feel the pain of the world through my words, and I want it to motivate you to change the world.
I think that journalists should take a humanitarian equivalent of a Hippocratic Oath upon graduation. We say we’re the voice of the oppressed, but how many of are willing to prove it? The job of a journalist is to motivate change, and it’s time we held them accountable.
I want my life to make a difference and I’m not content to let people suffer without being willing to suffer alongside them.
Compassion fatigue is a real struggle.
I fight it daily. It’s all too easy to block out the pain. But that means we deny our humanity.
The Bible says that Jesus was “…a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” (Isaiah 53:3). If we block out our pain, we block out a significant part of our Saviour.
God is not objective. God is emotional.
The media is the watchdog of democracy and one of the key principles of democracy is transparency.
So here is my statement of transparency: this world breaks my heart. Every single day I feel such intense pain, and it brings me to my knees. And every single day my passion is reignited to see the world changed.
If my pain brings me to my knees, then there I shall stay.