I have spent time in jail and prison. I sat across from a guy who had plastic zip ties, duct tape, sex toys, and a shock collar among other supplies inside his van. Some of the charges filed against him… confinement and battery. A lawyer chuckled after he heard what the man had admitted to me in the exclusive jailhouse interview. I believe that was my first story on FOX59.
I have been dropped 250 feet below ground into a sewage tunnel in a metal box that reminded me of those old school bird cages. Then, I took a train a few miles away from any natural light or air that didn’t have to be pumped in. I have stood in snow so high I have gotten stuck in a constant wobble. Dooooon’t falllll……
I have waded through tall grass and garbage to get to burnt out buildings… in high heels. That terrible odor that sticks to your hair and your clothes at a fire scene… I know it well. I have asked why neighbors were not warned about the polluting business next door that is no more because it could still be making them sick.
I have spoken with too many mothers who have lost children. I even spoke to a father who learned his baby didn’t have diaper rash. It was an STD contracted through abuse by a couple that was supposed to be babysitting. I spent the day in the back of a truck with a multi-agency task force that tracks down online sexual predators who are victimizing countless children. Every digital device in the house was dissected in the mobile unit out front so no one is wasting any time.
I have spent days with a local soldier who lost a great friend and both of his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan among other debilitating injuries. His internal and external pain is difficult to even grasp. Shrapnel is still in his body. Yet, he is hopeful as he makes plans, and he plays with his young sons as if nothing had been taken from him. He laughs, and he smiles. He is still a proud soldier.
There are so many stories to be told. Stories that need to be told…
Stories that have led friends, family and even strangers to ask me, over the years, the same question: “Isn’t your job depressing?”
Here’s my answer.
l have told so many stories about loss, disappointment, corruption, illness and unnecessary violence, but I have, without a doubt, put stories on the air that speak to hope, perseverance, love, faith and family. They are stories that have inspired others to take action.
I have seen unbelievable growth. Naptown… no more! Indianapolis is on the map. News about development and redevelopment has kept me quite busy. I was there for the groundbreaking of an apartment complex for homeless veterans, and I have watched plenty of bulldozers tear through neighborhood eyesores that have been longtime threats to nearby homeowners. I’m talking about the same people who consistently board up abandoned homes with their own materials as if it were their job. They are the same people who believe their street, that has become a vacant home checkerboard, will again be a thing of beauty.
I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a community support a family with a critically ill child. Strangers come out of the woodwork to donate their time and money to help a little boy or a little girl who they have never met before. All ages. All backgrounds. All walks of life.
It’s a balancing act.
Isn’t that what life is too?
Journalism, or rather, journalism on TV, is the human experience up close with pictures. It’s raw. It’s sometimes dirty, and when it is done right, it is honest. It’s the truth that the public deserves. To not know your rights, your history, your neighbors, your leaders, and your role in our democracy, and in your community, would be a mistake. So, why not welcome it all into our homes and into our hearts?
Thank you Indy for allowing me to be a part of it all the last three years. A new chapter awaits…