These people are real.

This morning like every morning, I opened my email inbox and it was filled with press releases — some were about road closures, others were messages from elected officials or notifications of upcoming events.

One was about a fatal car accident in west Columbia.

I recognized the name of the driver because I was awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call from a friend who was crying with confusion and anguish. His friend had just died in a car accident.

As journalists, often times we separate ourselves from the outside world. We read, see and feel so many terrible events in our midst, and in order to be good at our job, we must become detached. But when those events profoundly affect you and those you love dearly, it’s not that easy to stay apart. In fact, it cuts right to the core.

We as journalists must remember that although or job requires us to be detached, the events and people on which we report are very real. The victims of crash reports and crime and mass shootings are people. Someone loves them, and so we have to proceed sensitively.

We must not try to understand the grief of others, but be sensitive of their mourning. We must not impose ourselves into the story, but step back and celebrate life accordingly.

Today, I am thankful for those I love. I am thankful that I am loved. I am thankful for my work and my living, breathing self. I’m thankful I have the capability to be there for my friends.

Today, I will hold my loved ones a little bit tighter. You should, too.

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