It's easy to forget that when you think of the media, the networks, a TV station that there are actual people with real emotions who do the work that seems so easy to judge. Not only do we have feelings, we can read.
When the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary happened Friday, we let the network do what it does (interrupt regular programming to report on the facts as they come in). We posted what was available on our website. We shared what we knew on Facebook. That's just one place it seems people misinterpreted what we were doing. Here's a sampling of the responses to our updates:
Andy Jimenez wrote, "Networks love reporting this so copycats keep doing these things. Glamour and fame. SMH."
Emily wrote, "Call KSAT news, please make your reporting about the victims and families of those that lost their children or report about the heroism of today's tragedy but please do not spend any time on the shooter. It only sensationalizes this type of hideous crime."
Then, as the afternoon went on, we wanted to let our Facebook friends know that we would be doing our regularly scheduled newscasts.
Matt Crist wrote a series of posts that read, "Quit lying.. You are just going to rehash the same lame crap of dubious origin you have been spewing for the last several hours. So report something else. The world didn't stop over this. But it's more fun to sensationalize mass murder on TV.. Got it."
Priscilla Vasquez Tijerina replied, "Matt it's quite simple really, pick up remote push power button off. The rest of us want to hear about today. I doubt anyone here thinks what happened today was 'fun.'"
When we asked about vigils for the Connecticut victims in San Antonio, at least one of our "friends" didn't think it was information worth sharing.
Darrel Dario Van Kirk wrote, "Sorry, KSAT, but San Antonio is not the center of the universe, and it didn't happen here, so just stick with the news and quit taking the role of drama queen."
Sunday night, when there were reports of a shooting at the Mayan Theater, we sent a crew there and worked on getting information into the NightBeat (which was on later than usual). While we tried to gather facts from witnesses and police, ABC's programming was on, irking our Facebook friends.
Lynn Anderson-Riojas wrote, "Bad call KSAT...to not break in on the Bachelorette & let your local community know what's going on in light of all that's recently happened!! Too much confusion right now with is it or isn't it @ the Myan & we can't rely on our local news to clarify!"
Steve R. Pereira wrote, "But if it was at the Palladium or Alamo Heights you bet the show would've been dropped. SMH!"
Dora Guerra replied, "Maybe they don't have details yet...I'm sure they're reporting what they know now."
And once we were on the air, we received comments like this:
Carlos Alderete: "Im VERY disappointed in the behavior of you the media with local law inforcement! Complaining because you are not able to cross the crimescene tape!Let them do their job and not have to worry about who is unhappy because they don't get what they want for a shot on the "news".People were shot,and kids saw this and your worried about getting the best story!Even me as a kid knows better than that! Disgusted is all I can say...."
Kelly Torres-oyarzabal: "Ksat...with all respect...PLEASE WAIT till u kno exactly what happened,instead of reporting same incomplete mind scratching news related to this! Geez..too much updating of same coverage.. Notify the public after u get FACTS from sapd..food for thought."
Debb Garcia: "These people are doing their job! If they could tell us all details right away they would, just have some freaking patience!!!"
Monica Anderson: "Theres no news because police havent released info. Thats how facts work people! Dont diss on news stations!"
Delia Quintana: "If you are really gonna switch news stations because they are taking too long then go ahead and stop putting negative comments on here in a already negative situation! I would rather wait and hear an accurate story then a wrong one!!!"
And by Monday morning, Justin Barrera asked, "Where's his mug shot?"
So I'm going to let all of these people (and anyone else reading this) in on a secret: news people cry - real tears. We cry because sometimes the facts are simply too sad to read, let alone share with our viewers. We are frustrated when things happen for no reason. And when there is news happening and we cannot get there fast enough or cannot get the facts immediately, we are frustrated. We get angry because we know you expect more from us. We expect more from us, too.
We do not love reporting on violence - whether it includes one victim or 100. It is what happens. It is what IS happening. We do our best to make sure we get the facts right. We do not want to be the first to report wrong information (which happens in a developing story). And when we do get it wrong, we know it is our responsibility to correct our mistake and continue finding facts. We understand when it is your loved one(s) who may be in harms way, no information comes as fast as you need it. As a news viewer and our Facebook friend, put yourself in their situation. Wouldn't you rather officers make sure a situation is not an ongoing threat before he/she tears himself away from what may be a continued danger to give an interview? That's why we wait. It's why we repeat what we DO know. Oh, and sometimes what you see as repetition is brand new information for someone just turning on the TV.
What we do once the situation has calmed down is take a breath, step back and ask ourselves, "What is important?" Then, we work on piecing together the whole story. It may take us minutes or even hours. Just know that we are doing our best.
We can't please all of you. As you can tell from some of the comments in this post, you're pretty good at telling us what you like and don't like. We want to hear from you. I ask that before you post how you feel you keep in mind that while it's KSAT's page there are real people who read what you write.
One more thing: when you write "Slow news day?" on our page when we post something that is not gloomy or doomy, sometimes the answer is, "Yes." And sometimes we just want to post a story that makes us smile. Because we need it.