As many of you who follow my work on Twitter know, I recently announced I was stepping away for a while from Twitter — to unwind, to find new ways of telling engaging stories through other platforms, to form new ideas and to see if I could.
Like many of my colleagues, I woke up to learn about what took place earlier this morning in Aurora, Colorado and instantly knew that this story would be one of the definitive, and most difficult, news events of the year.
The break was over. It was time to get back to work.
It goes without saying that our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the event that took place in Colorado Friday morning. Those words are incredibly cliche, and they likely bring little comfort to anyone who now finds themselves as a part of living history for the worst reason, but for those of us who don’t know how we can do more, right now it’s the best that we can offer. And if we can do more, we will.
As journalists, we feel the best thing we can do in this kind of situation is to get answers for those who need them. It doesn’t mean we’re not affected by what we cover — we just displace our feelings and choose to act on them at a more appropriate time.
Days like today transform journalism as an industry into its best form — as a public service, where circulation, ad breaks and ratings don’t matter. Numbers are considered arbitrary. Competitors become colleagues. Journalists become a conduit between the information and those who seek it.
People will often send messages to me when events like this happen with compliments, complaints, questions or suggestions. I read all of them. I don’t usually respond to them because I don’t want to lose focus. But I do read them, and they are encouraging — even the complaints. So if you’ve sent anything like that in the past, or will in the future, thank you. When events, like the one today, happen, a lot of people at Reuters and at other agencies work long and hard.
If this is not the most articulate post, I apologize. A lot of things happened today, and a lot of things still have yet to happen. And now it’s time to get back to work.