During my first semester at Temple University, one of my professors presented a series of questions to my class about how involved journalists should allow themselves to become. If a child is lost in a crowded stadium and searching for their parents, do you snap a photo to highlight the chaos for your story or help them look? If somebody is in danger, do you call 911 or simply observe? If someone is choking to death, do you save them or see how the story unfolds?
Many students recited what they had already been told about staying unbiased and not altering the stories.
My professor, however, said that we must always be people first and reporters second. He said that if getting involved means that we can no longer impartially report on an issue, then it’s okay to drop the story. He said that it is our job not to let our journalistic egos turn us into robots and that we always have a responsibility to help those in real need. Although that is just the opinion of one man, it is an opinion that I agree with, and it is one that I am grateful to have heard so early on.
I think that everyone should carry Narcan, journalists included. The possibility of compromising the integrity of one story is nothing compared to the difference between saving a life and watching someone die, knowing that you could have done something. I see no gray area here; journalists, and especially those who work in areas with high overdose rates, owe it to their communities to carry Narcan and to view people as more important than stories.