So this one time at a journalism conference…
Heather Bryant

Thank you for sharing your story; you’ve hit upon a major issue that doesn’t come up enough in newsrooms. True empathy makes for the best journalism, but I find the trait disappearing from today’s reporting (especially on television, where it’s obvious that the anchor’s or reporter’s own life has informed the story selection/interpretation for the day). It requires us to understand all people, without judgment — and it’s not always easy to do, especially in a world of social media where our opinion seems to be the only one that matters.

I’ve really taken to the work of Chris Arnade, who does an amazing job listening to people and trying to understand them before sharing their stories. He avoids the pitfalls of parachute journalism and provides a model for the type of empathy required of good journalists.

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