I was texting with a Reporter yesterday about a very sad story that happened here in Florida this week.
But first, a little back story.
When I was a kid, from age 5 to 18 years old, my parents and I would head to Sebring, Florida for my Spring break from school.
Sebring is a sleepy little town in the dead center of Florida with a population of about 10,000 people. My grandparents on both sides of my family retired to Sebring and that is why we visited each year.
Earlier this week, a guy walked into a bank in Sebring and shot and killed 5 people.
It was another mass shooting and they have become so common, the story barley made news outside of south and central Florida.
This is a small town where just about everyone knows each other.
Now, gun violence has even showed up in this sleepy little town off of Highway 27 in the middle of Florida.
I’m not going to use this space to give my thoughts on mass shootings, but I am going to use it to talk about the media.
As the Sebring Police Chief was giving a press conference he started to cry. This was not a shooting in a big city, this was a shooting in a small town, where the Chief either knew the victims or their family.
While the Chief was trying to hold back his emotions, the media assembled from Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach are screaming at the Chief and demanding answers.
This wasn’t a corrupt Police Chief caught in a scandal, this was a guy trying to inform the media about a mass shooting in his small town.
Up until this week, it is more than likely that this Chief had never even dealt with a Reporter outside the local paper.
Now, the guy has a mass shooting, something that he surely has never dealt with and has to go tell the victims families that these people are dead. Yet, the media is screaming at the guy.
What makes this worse, thanks to social media, these press conferences are now all streamed live over the internet and people can watch and see how the media is acting. In the past, the media could act like complete jerks, but no one outside the presser really saw it and it was cleanly edited for TV.
But the times have changed and now what you do on your job is seen by many people before you even file your story.
Screaming at a guy that is crying and yet still trying to do his job is not a good look for anyone. Yes, he’s the Police Chief, but he is also human.
The Reporter I talked to you yesterday said that the way the media handled themselves at the press conference made her feel compelled to stick around and tell a Sebring police officer that she was sorry how the media acted.
She said, “Im sorry how they acted and we’re (the media) is not all like that.”
But, sadly more and more members of the media are like that.
Thanks to a President that calls the media “Fake News” and “The Enemy of the People” the light shines brighter on the media then ever before.
Maybe it is time to be better, act more professional and show the people that the media is not this awful group of people that just swoop in like vultures.
Just like they did in that small town in Florida that is getting ready to bury 5 of their neighbors.