One of the most enjoyable aspects about working in the media is every day seems to bring a new dilemma. A story or issue that challenges us in fresh ways or requires us to make a call that’s full of consequence.
This week featured a prime example.
A quiet Sunday evening was disrupted by sirens and speeding police cars just after dinner time. We are not in the habit of chasing ambulances, but seeing three cars speed by our office is a pretty rare sight. So on Sunday evening, we followed.
Once we arrived to the bridge, it was pretty obvious what was going on. Instead of inflaming the situation with our camera, we chose to take a long a shot of the scene and then walked away to let the police and fire department come to a distraught woman’s assistance.
The Nelson Police Department officer who successfully managed talk this woman off the highest point of the bridge with the assistance of the Nelson Fire Department, did a fantastic job. It was a highly stressful situation which could have ended much worse.
The best possible outcome was reported to us in a police press release the next morning. Once again, we were faced with a decision of whether to put the story in print. What took place was a deeply personal crisis and we would never want to compound this young woman’s problems.
The dilemma came from the fact that it was a very public scene. The bridge was closed for more than an hour and by the time the woman was brought down to safety, many people had gathered to see what was happening.
The editorial team here at the Star spent part of Monday morning discussing whether to run the story. In the end, we felt it was in the public interest and in order to quell any rumours, it was best to provide the facts provided by the police.
The coziness of this community demands that those who work in the media make judgements that are often quite different than our colleagues in larger centres. Though we are comfortable with our call earlier this week, we don’t always make the right one. And when we slip up, we want you to know we’re open to any feedback you provide.