It’s been just three days since a dozen people were killed and 58 people injured in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, CO. That same day, NY State Police charged two teenagers in Montgomery County with the murder of two other teenagers.
You know what else? It was also Opening Day for the 144th season at the Saratoga Race Course.
I didn’t work that Friday, but I was constantly refreshing Twitter, checking my YNN emails, and I was proud of how my station covered these events. As much as the track is an important part of our region, our news team knew that such pain needed to take precedence. At the same time, they chose not to ignore the lighter stories.
I call it the ‘about-face.’ As an anchor, you want to be solemn when speaking of the details of grievous moments. But two minutes later, you could be seeing a story about a county fair.
(Note: To be fair, there usually is a wider gap between such content. Props to good producers)
While this back-and-forth is difficult to adapt to, we can’t deny that all sorts of news can happen at any and all times. Yes, there are points where you deliberately back off the fluff. But refusal to accept the more palatable stories isn’t realistic either, seeing that a balance of both sides is reflected in human life.
In one week, one of my closest friends will be getting married. I’ll be standing inches away from her as she commits to be faithful to the man she loves, and guaranteed, my heart will be overflowing with joy.
Yet a few days ago, this same dear friend’s grandmother was hospitalized. In her words: “Barring miracles, she won’t last too long.” Tears were streaming. How does one deal with a deeply rooted grief when a long-anticipated celebration is on the horizon? Do you have to choose?
I wish I had the answer to help her cope. I don’t. What I do know is that you can’t cold-shoulder one or the other. The two impacting moments are part of her, and my life. As they unfold, we will do our best to address them.
We’ll do an about-face. But we’ll turn around, over and over, as often as we have to. At some point, the spins will blur.