Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

When to hold 'em

Posted September 1, 2008

Reporters tend to be news junkies.  Whether it is a story on their beat or not they devour tidbits from the newspaper, television, radio and the Internet.  I now follow news updates on big stories on my BlackBerry (from WRAL.com of course) and routinely forward the stories to family and friends.  Minutes later I get e-mail responses, or more likely a call from my dad who always enjoys a good debate, especially when it comes to politics.

Despite the holiday weekend you had to be on a desert island not to hear something about Hurricane Gustav and Sarah Palin.  My reaction to Gustav was guttural.  Having covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina I know personally the impact another major storm could have had on the Gulf states.  I watched eagerly for updates praying the area would be spared a Katrina-like disaster.  My reaction to Sarah Palin being added to the Republican ticket was less about emotions and more about curiosity.

I polled friends and family, Republicans and Democrats, about their views.  I asked women and men about the role gender might play in this election.  Interestingly, I got different opinions not always based on party-lines or gender. 

I get a kick out of hearing differing views than my own.  In fact, I routinely watch poetical programs that I disagree with so that I can understand and dissect their arguments.  I also never presume someone is going to agree with me.  In fact, I am amazed at how freely people will offer an opinion in a group and assume everyone shares it.  To me this would be like assuming everyone follows the same religion.  Diplomacy is a learned virtue born directly from my nearly two decades as a journalist.  It serves me very well when it comes to discussing politics and religion.  When people don't know where I stand on something I think they feel safer sharing their thoughts with me.  This is not to say I don't have strong opinions, I most definitely do, but I try to keep them at bay when I'm covering controversial issues.

I will always be a news junkie.  I will always form opinions, I'm human- but like the Kenny Rogers song, "You got to know when to hold 'em..."

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.