I’ve been a practicing journalist essentially my entire adult life. My “status” changed more than a year ago when I left daily journalism and began my transition into full-time teaching.
Let me stop right here and clarify something. I’ll always be a journalist. Now I’m just refocusing my energies away from daily news coverage to some of the broader issues that affect the profession.
Sometimes I miss the adrenaline rush that comes with a looming deadline. Sometimes I miss being in on the action when breaking news is happening nearby. Sometimes I miss the feeling that comes after airing a solid feature story or a well-crafted newscast.
There is something that I do not miss, however. I don’t miss covering severe weather.
There have been numerous times through the years when people have told me how much they appreciated that I was giving live, breaking weather reports when the skies turned dangerous in my listening area. That has always made me feel good and was further encouragement that I was doing important, necessary work.
However, severe weather is incredibly disruptive to the lives of those who cover it, especially if you work in a smaller news operation. There were times when my workday stretched to 18 hours. I’ve had to stop eating dinner at home to get back to the station to cover a strengthening storm. I’ve stayed up all night as a band of severe weather had the gall to sweep through Alabama outside of traditional work hours.
I eventually developed an attitude that storms are a real nuisance.
After leaving the daily news cycle, though, I rediscovered something that I had lost. I love watching storms.
I’m not saying that I sit around wishing for tornadoes or hoping for dangerous weather. But I do enjoy watching the trees sway during a wind gust and gazing at lightning as it flashes across the sky. There’s a strange comfort in hearing thunder rumbling in the distance. Staring upwards and watching low, blue-grey clouds crisscross the higher, whitish clouds above them is beautiful.
I have vast amounts of respect (and empathy) for all of my professional colleagues who cover storms, especially when they become dangerous, because it’s necessary to keep our communities safe.
I’m content to sit back an appreciate your hard work.