Remembering the good times
“Virginia TV reporters shot dead during live broadcast.” Those eight words shook the Internet moments after news broke that WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were shot dead doing a feature television piece at a water park in Roanoke, Virginia last Wednesday morning.
It’s not a headline you expect to read on this side of the world. It isn’t something you expect to wake up to.
Journalists in North America being murdered on live television. That’s something more in line with the South Sudan or some other war torn country, not with the Land of the Free.
As news started to filter in of the shooting, that nauseating feeling took over. It grew in the pit of your stomach. This couldn’t be happening.
Yet it had. The gunman — a former employee of the station — calmly walked up to the crew and pulled the trigger. So, it begs the question. How does it get to this? How does a man walk up to a group of people and kill in cold blood?
For those in this profession, it serves as a sobering reminder that tragedy can strike when you’re on the job.
Inevitably, the conversation will move to guns and America. It has to, really. There have been too many incidents of gun related violence for it not to happen.
Although, it might not change much. Let’s face it, Sandy Hook couldn’t bring down the second amendment, there is nothing on this Earth that will. But, it doesn’t have to happen right now. What has to happen right now, however, is remembering that Alison and Adam were doing a job they loved in their hometown — like many of us in community news.
They were chasing stories that mattered to the people they were speaking to. That’s just what we do. We cover the news, regardless of the risks that come with it.
A senseless act of violence can’t change that. It shouldn’t change that.
In the hours following the shooting, WDJB7 turned their newscast into that of a tribute to their fallen employees. Social media was flooded of smiling pictures of the two journalists.
It was an attempt to make their last happy moments the prevalent public image. It worked.
Alison’s boyfriend, station anchor Chris Hurst said, “She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back.”
Simultaneously, he broke hearts and paid tribute to his love.
Alison and Adam loved their lives and their families.
Let’s remember that.