Calm During the Storm

Published On: May 30 2013 09:27:01 AM CDT   Updated On: May 30 2013 11:37:05 AM CDT
Calm During the Storm
(WICHITA, Kan.) -

Mother Nature is a busy woman these days. Flooding, hail and tornadoes; this year's severe weather season has certainly lived up to its name.

When breaking news happens, journalists along with their photographers quickly follow. Last week's Moore Tornado is an obvious example.

A common misconception is that reporters seek out destruction, and for the majority of journalists that is simply not true. We're there to gather, inform and find out why the story is relevant to you, the viewer. We pass along ways to help victims, keep people safe and reunite families.

Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Seabrook went to Oklahoma to cover the storm's aftermath. She provided Oklahomans support right along with her coverage for our Kansas viewers. In between live shots, and voicing stories she gave away clothing, shoes and hugs to some of the victims she interviewed.

Fellow reporters told her to 'put on steel' before heading south. I've heard the phrase before when covering sad or difficult stories.

Over the years, that stoic image eroded. Reporters and anchors are allowed to humanize themselves on the air and off. We can remove some of that steel and let our softer side show. It doesn't diminish the work we do but for viewers I believe make us and the stories we're telling all that more real.

The 'steel' on the inside is harder to take down. We need it to get the story. I've let my guard down after completing an assignment and even tear up during interview or two but that's as far as it goes, for me. Too much emotion can hamper my work.

As an anchor, I am being bombarded with information during these events from sources, producers, the internet and social media. It is crucial to identify the accurate information and deliver that to our viewers while maintaining a degree of empathy. Like I mentioned before we're not 'playing' anchors or reporters. We're real people delivering the news at a critical time.

Safety is important when covering storms and the unfortunate aftermath. We work closely with our team of meteorologist when we go storm chasing. They can provide us the best locations to grab video without putting us in danger. It's a big reason why everyone should leave chasing to the professionals.

During severe weather our news and weather teams work closely together, in fact, Rodney Price ‘mans’ our Storm Chaser desk in the newsroom.

Our assignment editor, producers, managers and web team are making calls to different agencies to track any reports of storm damage or closings. I really do appreciate our news team during these moments. We operate as one unit working with a lot of effort to get the most important news on the air and make it appear seamless.