It's been almost two weeks since an EF-4 tornado hit Grandbury, Texas -- about 40 miles from where I go to school. I went to Grandbury the next day, and since then, I've been trying to sort through what I saw. I went not to look at the damage, but to watch the hordes of TV crews and reporters that flocked there.
I'm still not sure what to make of what I saw. There was one ranch in particular where all of the news trucks seemed to gather. While the residents of this ranch were trying to pick up the pieces and clear the rubble, field reporters were fighting over piles of debris to stand on for their live shots. Something about that didn't feel right. I know that showing the damage from these storms is important, and people want to see it. But to what extent? Something about it felt wrong. All of these people were there, just watching the residents put their lives back together and waiting until the next live shot. Should these reporters have helped in the clean up? Brought water or supplies? I understand that journalists have to stay objective and not inset themselves into the news, but is there something they can do? Just watching these people try to clean up, using them for a news segment, then picking up and leaving feels...icky (I believe that's the technical term). But I don't know what the right answer is. Maybe there isn't one, but here's what I saw:
|Pile of debris, and behind it, a young man who was trying to clean up|
|Reporter standing on a pile of debris, taping his segment|
|At the Sheriff's news conference in the HEB parking lot|
|News conference in the HEB parking lot|