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..."