How the AP Preps for Disaster Stories

Posted on Facebook of all places, the Associated Press has a short piece up on how they prepared for the tornado coverage over the last few days. Not too deep, but you get some idea as to what they go through.

The last segment where Charlie Riedel talks about being on the ground, though, is pretty important.

In all the years that I have covered disasters, from fires to hurricanes to tornados to the oil spill, I don’t think I have ever run into anyone who doesn’t feel a little bit happy that someone is taking an interest in their life and story. A lot of the time I will approach someone who is sorting through what is left of their house, and they are very talkative, very appreciative of me taking an interest in them. Part of that may come from the fact that a victim may feel like an insignificant speck amongst a huge disaster — and this disaster is immense. So when someone takes an interest in them, they happily respond.

We get accused of being vultures at times, swooping into other people’s misfortunes for our own personal benefit. And, while there are some who chase stories for the thrill of the chase, the real journalists chase stories to help us understand what happened, what needs to happen next and what we can do to help. That’s journalism.

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