Compassion or Vulture?


My reaction to Angels and Ghosts: Anatomy of a Story consists of tears and lots of deep thoughts. Personally, I am horrible with death. I deal with it by not actually dealing with it and reading something this raw and personal I had no choice but to become connected and deal with it.

I see many reasons to both sides of this dilemma. “Vultures, vultures, vultures“? Or is it a truly sensitive approach to reporting with a goal to do something greater? I had moments where I thought both.

“But I knew that being a witness would power my article like nothing else. I was where I wanted to be, inside the story. It was raw and playing out all around me.”…

“Later, I tried to remember why I never played chess with him again. Maybe that would have been better for him, but I knew that wasn’t why I was in that room. I was supposed to be there to get the story,” Sugg continued. “Sometimes, it was an easy call. When R.J. cried out for someone to hold his hand during a medical procedure, and I was the only person who could help, I thought for just a second before dropping my notebook and pen.”

These were the moments while reading that I thought “vulture”. With tiny moments of sensitivity and compassion weaved within which made it hard to not return to appreciating this raw approach.

I respect this entire story and Sugg and Michele for taking this bull by the horns and attempting to write a story from a viewpoint that not many people get to see, and in hopes of changing others lives that may be experiencing the same struggles. Angels and Ghosts along with Sun received my respect because I know that it is something I, and probably a large portion of other real journalists and photographers could never do.

From taking a media writing course and experiencing some journaling of my own, my comparison of this type of reporting to my standard opinion of reporting is night and day. I learned skills to reporting that involve digging for the right and reliable answers and sources which is somewhat relatable to Angels and Ghosts in a way that Sugg tried for years to try and dig deeper to get a connection like R.J Voigt and his mother gave Sugg.

But where my comparison differs is the timeliness. News and reporting is a very fast industry. Yesterday’s news is old news and tomorrow’s news won’t be news for long. Many writers focus on trying to get the newest story, not the most impactful as Sugg did here. I appreciate this approach. Less informing in a timely fashion, and more so informing in a resonating fashion. That’s what the best news is to me, something that I connect to and something that resonates with me like Angels and Ghosts did.


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