Heavy heart after city’s reactionPublished 11:06pm Friday, January 11, 2013
The past few days my heart has felt heavy. As a community journalist I write news specifically for you — residents of the city of Selma. I live and breathe Selma events and can honestly say that I enjoy every minute of it.
I’ve written countless columns praising this city for not only the variety of local shops and events available to its residents, but also praising the people who make this city great. In less than five months I have truly fallen in love with this place.
Tuesday, I spent the early part of the afternoon gathering information and interviewing residents on exciting upcoming events — specifically Selma’s Historic Pilgrimage.
When I returned to the office I sat down at my desk and began to review my notes. It was less than five minutes later when the police scanner emitted what sounded something like “off the bridge,” followed by “in the water.” I jumped from my chair and ran to the back of the office, and out onto the balcony that overlooks the mighty Alabama River.
What I saw instantly paralyzed me with fear. My face went pale as I saw a man who appeared to be swimming back towards the riverbank — struggling to carry what looked to be another person. At this point I had to put all of my own emotions on hold. I had a job to do. My job is to find the news, and share it with those who live here. So out I went.
Hurrying to cross the length of the bridge with two of my fellow reporters, unsure of what waited for us at the top, is a memory I will be unable to forget. I spoke with eyewitnesses who watched the woman stop her car, cross the railing and jump. My heart pounded faster as I gained more insight to the situation.
My heart ached for the woman I saw lying in the mud. My heart soared as I heard how a regular guy stepped forward and revealed his truest self — a hero.
It was with a heavy, albeit, adrenaline–filled heart, that I made my way back to the office to write up the facts we were given, and share the news of the day with this community.
The job of a journalist is to objectively stand on the sidelines, ask questions, find the truth and deliver it.
We weren’t part of the news, but in the days that followed, The Selma Times-Journal seemed to garner more recognition than the story of a jumper who was given a second chance. To those who said, the story and photos were tasteless and without compassion, I want you to know this story broke my heart.
I love this city and the people who live here.