Friday, February 26, 2016

Risky Business from Day 1

     I'm having a very big problem with one of my Journalism rules.
     It might even be one of the reasons my stories wake me up at night, but that's just a guess, anecdotal evidence, open to interpretation.
     I asked my big sister about the rule when I first started the journey into special education.
     It didn't make sense that special ed teachers are supposed to write every little thing down and save it forever, just in case.
     The rule for reporters is the same except that last part.
     After the story is written, we destroy our notes to protect ourselves and our sources.
     They don't want to become the story but are simply messengers, too, helping us do our jobs better.
     Why would a source give information in the first place, if it risked exposing something personal about them like their address or dog's name?
     Your notes are only to get the facts straight and then go into the trash, not the recycle bin.
     It's a rule I followed until Katy told me to write everything down if something happened and then show it to her. The notes started to feel almost as important as the teaching at that point, which is why I asked my sister.
     What's it like in medicine, I asked. Do doctors save every little bit of information, like special education teachers? Do they write down every bad thing, just in case, and keep it locked up in a vault somewhere, too?
     Yes, she said, doctors do the same thing as special ed teachers. Her explanation had something to do with insurance, and I lost interest because her point was so clear and staring me straight in the face.
     It was something I had realized almost from Day 1 in the autism department.
     Special education teachers are much more worried about getting sued than reporters.
     Why?