It has been over 24 hours since the tragedy in Boston occurred. As much as I did not want to, I found myself glued to my computer most of the day reading most of the articles that had been released. Now we know some of the names of the people, like Martin Richard, the 8-year-old who was watching his father run the marathon. Or we have seen videos of those racing into the barricades to help those that were injured.
These videos also show what the media did, and even as a journalist, I was frustrated. In this one, which was clearly taken right after the blasts, you can hear people crying for help. While others rush to their aide, you see the media taking picture after picture of the gruesome site. In class, we say all the time that the job of the news and the media is to report the news to the people. With situations like this, however, I also feel like it is the job of the journalist to get the story but then help as much as possible if they can.
I have never been in a situation similar to that of the Boston bombings, and hope that I never am. Should I be, however, I feel as if I would be compelled to drop what I was doing and help anyone I possibly could. The most common photo or story coming out of yesterday’s incident is that of Jeff Bauman, the runner that is in many publications today seated in a wheelchair and being rushed to receive medical attention by a man wearing a cowboy hat. His story is also that of Carlos Arredondo,the man in the hat. Arredondo was not running the race but handing out flags in memory of the son he lost in Iraq. When the blasts went off, he immediately jumped over the barricades to get to Jeff, and it is because of him that he is alive today.
To a new journalist, getting the story and writing it well is possibly the most important task you have. In incidents like Boston, however, the story should take second precedence over helping someone who is right in front of you. I look at the videos of the photographers snapping pictures of the wounded and think, “How many more people could have received attention if they were not so focused on getting the picture?”
We journalists have a responsibility to people to tell the story of the day, but then we also have a responsibility to help our fellow man should they need us. This is when our jobs become more than just getting the story, it is about being a part of the story and doing whatever we can to help.