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TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore

Dave Ross

Shaken up

KOMO-TV news producer Justin Paulsen briefly holds his hand to his face as he works on a story about the crash of one of their helicopters just outside the newsroom earlier Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. As a reporter gets older, and as you read the stories about people who took the same risks and didn't come back, you begin to realize that microphone isn't magical invincibility talisman, and a lot of the time, the reason you came back was that you were just lucky. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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Why were other journalists so shaken by this, even though we didn't know the people involved?

I can tell you why.

You get into the news business because you like excitement. You live for a great story. And you know you're going to take risks because part of your job is to do what first responders do - you run toward the fire. You run into the tornado. You go into the war zone. You get into a car in a foreign country with someone you've never met before and drive into a dark neighborhood. And you get into a helicopter on the roof of a building and take off.

I've done all those things.

And I have always felt safe because I've had a microphone in my hand - or that two-way unit that puts me on the air.

And I tend to think of it as a talisman. An immunity icon. Fate wouldn't dare let anything happen to me because I'm the reporter.

Especially as a young man, as long as I had that microphone in my hand, I was untouchable.

It's a way you try to distance yourself from the people who are vulnerable.

Then, as you get older, and as you read the stories about people who took the same risks and didn't come back, you begin to realize that microphone isn't magical, and a lot of the time, the reason you came back was that you were just lucky.

So in addition to the horror of losing a colleague, the trauma from an accident like this is, it's a reminder that there are no immunity icons.

It's a reminder to us that the news stories that we may cover one day and forget the next are very often life-changing events for the people we cover.

We need to understand that the vulnerability we feel after something like what happened Tuesday is their experience, too.

Read more:
Victims of Seattle TV news helicopter crash remembered
Investigators to reassemble charred helicopter in search for cause of deadly Seattle crash
Photos from the scene of the news helicopter crash
Rules for helipads in Seattle

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FMTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

About the Author


Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.

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