This past Thursday, we had a tornado drill at the Don Morris building, where KACU is housed. I received an email earlier that week explaining what each of the faculty members should do, evacuation routes, etc. But one thing that really got me was that it said that the on-air announcer had to stay behind to relay information, had this been an actual tornado, and at the time of the drill, I was the on-air announcer.
At first I was a little uncomfortable. While everyone else evacuated to safer grounds, I was supposed to stay where I was: in a radio control room surrounded by soundproof windows. I thought, sarcastically, “Wow! I sure feel safe!” But upon further thinking, I began to realize that this was really part of the job.
As a broadcaster and journalist, it’s my duty to relay the important information that others need to know, and to tell the story of what’s happening in what might not always be the safest area. While most broadcasters aren’t directly in harm’s way as often as, say, the armed forces, there are still times when disaster strikes in the blink of an eye, and we need to be there to tell the story, and give the information as it happens accurately and efficiently.
There are some journalists and broadcasters who are in harms way just about as often as our troops, because they travel with our troops. They relay information and stories from the battlefield back home to a country who is concerned about their sons and daughters fighting abroad. Other broadcasters and journalists spend weeks on end in extremely hostile areas such as Libya and Syria, where free speech and press is anything but encouraged. But it’s all part of the job, and some people like Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, two photojournalists killed in their line of duty this week while reporting on the ever-violent situation in Libya, put it all on the line and made the ultimate sacrifice to get the message out, in a land where the media is conspicuously controlled.
Now, as I begin to move more into the professional field and begin to wonder how much more my chosen occupation will ask of me in the near future, I realize that sometimes the situation will call for me to be in the path of the storm. It will ultimately be up to me to have courage to stay calm and tell the story when more people than ever will want to hear it. It will be easy to just run away, but if I don’t tell the story, who will?