In the chaos of Hurricane Harvey's aftermath, emotions run high as many are struggling to keep themselves and their loved ones safe while also dealing with the trauma of a natural disaster. Collisions are inevitable, and one was caught on camera when a visibly exhausted evacuee laid into a CNN reporter during an interview in a makeshift shelter.
"Y'all are sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the f*** is wrong with us," the mother snaps at the journalist, one arm around her child as she becomes increasingly agitated. "And you really trying to understand with a microphone in my face, with me shivering cold, with my kids wet. And you're still putting a microphone in my face!"
The reporter continuously apologizes and tries to soothe the frustrated woman before eventually backing away. The woman then turns and leaves.
It's a rough moment, a crash between one person trying to do their job and another just trying to make it through.
The interview has been making the rounds on social media, and the responses have generally been understanding of both sides, expressing sympathy for the Harvey evacuee, as well as thanks to journalists for spreading awareness as to the situation on the ground.
Can't say I blame her. https://t.co/YeKf5Y5Z9l— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 29, 2017
I know that the media intends on bringing attention, & help, from outside;but the frustration, fear and emotions demand compassion too.— 🌸Liz Kennedy🌎 (@football4sages) August 29, 2017
However, some did question the reporter's methods and raised concerns over the media response to natural disasters in general.
When covering traumatic/emotional stories I'd ask ppl if they were ok & for permission to intv. Wtf happened here? https://t.co/NE2r0uapJP— America's Sweetheart (@thewayoftheid) August 29, 2017
The woman told the truth. Reporters should think before they shove their mics in the faces of victims.— Ray Stokes (@strong151) August 29, 2017
#Harvey is a reminder how much local journalism - reporters who truly know the community & its people - matters.— Laura Chapin (@LauraChapin) August 29, 2017
Inherent to the profession, journalists have always had to walk a careful line between observation and engagement, between telling the story and becoming a part of the story. To those in urgent need of help, that can be understandably aggravating, and part of being a good reporter is taking those raw, human expressions of emotion with grace.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS, Ernest Scheyder