Myself and my colleague James DeVellis are very lucky to be in a profession like journalism and it has given us both a very stable and exciting career in which we have both found great success. With this being said the life of a journalist is not always an easy one in terms of managing emotions and there are some stories which we write about which are very testing for us both. I spoke to James DeVellis last week about which stories he found most difficult and which he doesn’t look forward to writing.
There aren’t too many stories which can make you feel the way that injustice does and for all involved they can leave a very sour taste in the mouth. Over the years we have seen a number of men and women cleared for allegations of misconduct which they were wrongly convicted of and whilst the end result of these stories is of course positive, many of these people have spent time in prison which they will never get back. Bittersweet news stories like this appear to be victories to the reader, but for journalists like James DeVellis they remind us of the flaws in our legal system.
Many believe that a journalist’s day is filled with deep investigations, seeking for the truth behind a story but very often they are full of false stories or simply mundane stories about local areas. James DeVellis speaks about his first year in journalism when he had to write a report for a Boston outlet about a breeder of chickens who was realized that they were being snatched and killed by a local fox, James took on the story because he had to but these are the kind of days which both he and I really wish that we didn’t have. Nonetheless these days are part and parcel of journalism and we must do our best to write the best piece that we can, regardless of what the story is about.
When carrying out investigative journalism there are very often stories whereby you simply cannot get anyone to go on record to talk about the story. These are of course very difficult stories to write as you cannot publish something if you are not sure of the facts behind the story. In many cases people will voluntarily give up information which will corroborate the story but there is the odd time when nobody is prepared to speak, usually on criminal issues as people fear implication or retribution. These are certainly challenging stories to write and there are many times when we simply have to put the story to one side or write a vague description of supposed events. A journalist is only as good as the information which he or she receives which is why it is such a challenge when you have situations like this.
The life of a journalist is a very good one, but there are certainly some challenging stories which you need to write.