As a journalist, I am compelled to report events as fairly and truthfully as I can without injecting personal thoughts, feelings and emotions. As the parameters of reporting have evolved through the years, I have more freedom to readily share some of my personal observations through venues like this blog.
I came to realize long ago that events like the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 capture more attention than others. It is human nature to fixate on a story filled with drama and intrigue. This flight involves all of the elements that conjure strong emotions - hundreds of innocent lives, hurtling hundreds of kilometers per hour through the darkness of night, a confined space, high altitude. They are seemingly safe, when suddenly, something “bad” happens.
A member of Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) uses a binocular to scan the horizon during a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 conducted on the waters of the Strait of Malacca off Sumatra island, Indonesia,
Planes just don’t disappear, especially in this technology filled age when weather and spy satellites scour the skies, as nations voraciously monitor as many forms of communications as possible, when there seems to be no place on the planet to hide for very long. And yet after five days, there are no concrete signs of one of the largest commercial planes in use. I have no doubt MH370 will be found and the full story will eventually be known.
For those of us who cover and present the news, the responsibility to accurately depict unfolding developments is massive. The challenge is to verify new facts amid conflicting accounts and speculation. It is important because the story does ultimately involve thoughts, feelings and emotions – especially for family members and friends who are intently monitoring news coverage with everyone else. That is one of the most important facts that should help journalists ground their perspective throughout this story.