By Kristi Belcamino
Reporters are nosy.
It goes with the job description.
And it is probably a small part of why reporters decide to jump into the journalism rat race. (Hint: we don’t do it for the money!)
Although as a writer, I’ve done my fair share of eavesdropping into another person’s world (hello reality TV, or while sitting at a cafe or riding the bus), as a reporter, I have a first-class ticket to be a spy. Sort of a VIP pass.
Because as a reporter, I’m essentially spying into another person’s world. Sometimes they know it (when I identify myself as a reporter). And sometimes they don’t: When I hear about what is happening on the city streets by listening day in and day out to the police scanner.
But either way, I have a VIP Pass to be a spy into another world.
For instance, while most people slow down at an accident scene (lookie loos) and try to figure out what just happened, I pull my car over, flash my press pass, duck under the crime scene tape (not always) and walk over to a guy who gives me all the details.
Yes, a VIP Pass to Spying – or Nosiness, if you will.
Or when the rest of the world is wondering just why on earth this man went off the deep end and killed his parents, I go talk to him in a jail cell and he tells me what was going through his mind.
Sure, especially in that above example, sometimes it is better off not knowing (often ignorance is bliss), but the mere fact that I’m a reporter makes people want to talk to me. It makes people want to share their stories and innermost thoughts. Sometimes I don’t get it, but just go with it.
Because I realize that my VIP Pass comes with some heavy responsibility. These people are entrusting me with their stories, their pain sometimes, and officials are trusting me with information they assume I will correctly convey to the mass public. I know that to do my job well and to do it in a way in whichI can live with myself, I have to have the upmost integrity in how I obtain this information and in how I pass it along to others.
But at its heart, I realize it is also another way for me to indulge my nosiness and spy on another person’s world.