Reporters see daily tragedy
Published 5:44 am Monday, February 5, 2007
I am just like you. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend and an employee. It's that last thing that might make my life somewhat different from yours.
In the world of news, events in the area are seen in a different light most of the time.
Last week I had the unfortunate responsibility of reporting a story about a young child who was killed by a vicious dog. The event brought about feelings of sorrow and concern from everyone who spoke about the attack. I was sad for the family who lost this lovely girl. But, I didn't know them.
When we first learned of the story, the first thing I tried to do was figure out if I knew the family or not. After hearing names and determining the location of the family's home, I settled with the fact that I was not familiar with them at all. Yes, I was still sad for them and even said a prayer for the family. As a mother, I couldn't begin to imagine the pain and sorrow the family must have been feeling. But, still, I didn't know them.
Lydia Grimes, a fellow-employee here at The Brewton Standard, began searching for details and information concerning the event on Monday morning.
Of course, even though tragic, the death of this toddler was certainly news.
In her search for the whole story, Lydia had contacted the sheriff's office and had contacted a neighbor to get their reaction to the incident. She even tried to contact the family. Much of her time was lost and the answers she got were few.
For some reason, Lydia had to be out of the office for a while on Tuesday morning, when a call came in from the mother of the attacked child.
I was here and therefore had the story jump into my lap from that point forward. No, I didn't know Ashley Kitlica before her horrifying tragedy, but I felt a connection with her during our conversation.
As she recounted the events that led up to and following the death of her daughter, I felt her pain. I'm not sure if she realized that I was crying with her as she told me about the loss of her youngest child.
Suddenly, it didn't matter to me that I didn't know her family. I felt a connection that caused me deep pain - certainly not as deep as the pain she certainly was and is suffering - but I felt as if I had become a part of the story. I guess in a way I had.
Law enforcement officials have learned that in the case of kidnappings or missing persons, using the victim's name is more compelling to the average person than just calling them a victim.
Certainly, if you hear that Tonya is missing you'd be more apt to be concerned than if you heard a just a young woman was missing.
Taylor died on Sunday. Taylor was loved by her family. Taylor was a beautiful little girl. Taylor was only a year and a half old. Taylor will certainly be missed.
I do not have a relationship with Ashley, Tom, T.J., or Skylar Kitlica, but on Tuesday, I dropped my guard and felt sympathy, pain and true sorrow for them all.
My job is not always easy. People who know me won't be surprised that I cried with Ashley on Tuesday.
People that know me won't even be surprised that I was deeply moved by the events of Sunday afternoon. Ashley Kitlica doesn't know me.
As we spoke Tuesday, Ashley told me she had been offered assistance by many, many people since her daughter was attacked by a stray dog.
She said the only thing she could tell anyone to do for her or her family was to pray - pray for them to let them get through this horrible time in their lives.
I still don't really know the Kitlica family, but I am now, through an unfortunate turn of events, acquainted with Ashley. I promised Ashley that I would pray for them. I have and I will.
If I did not have the job that I currently have, I wouldn't have cried on Tuesday morning. I didn't cry on Monday morning when I learned about the incident. I felt sympathy for the family, but I didn't cry then. I probably wouldn't have cried on Wednesday morning when the article appeared in The Brewton Standard. I certainly would be sorry for the family, but I wouldn't have cried. If you are not connected to the Kitlica family, you probably didn't cry either. That's okay. I certainly understand completely.
Today looks a little different for me as a news reporter than it does for you as a reader. You probably don't have a clear idea of what we go through to get the story to you. We see tragedy. We see joy. We see complacency. We see anger. We see regret. We see pain.
We see so much that simply cannot be translated into the written word with any amount of feeling. It's a difficult job and I love it.
So, the next time you read a story, think about who we are. We are mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, fathers, husbands, wives, friends and neighbors. We do the best we can, but we are just like you. We are the people.
Lisa Tindell is a news writer for The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by email at email@example.com.