The New Potato interviews Tamron Hall…
During a week such as this, how do you approach reporting what’s going on without becoming emotional? What’s your biggest personal priority when covering something like the tragedy in Orlando?
My personal priority is to answer the questions you want answered, and ask the questions you want answered. When you have forty-nine people senselessly murdered, I would not lie to you and pretend it did not have a great impact on me. You have Mothers and Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, pleading for an answer; they just want to know where their loved one is. I cried my eyes out Sunday night, and I’m okay with that. And I was still able to, the next day, get on air and ask those questions. So, I no longer, after being in this business for twenty-five years, try to separate normal human emotion from integrity. I hope that I am able to provide both.
How do you prepare mentally in a situation like this?
You can’t. I, Sunday morning, like the rest of us, woke up to the news and I instantly called in and said I’m available, I’m in town, and I’m ready to go. I was immediately told to come in and I was on air, as things were unfolding. It was truly breaking news. There is not a lot you can do to prepare or read up on. I have covered these types of stories before, and can recall all the facts on gun control and on terror. All of those things are there, but you don’t know why it’s happening, so all of the information you have stored really doesn’t matter until you know more.
Do you feel that as a reporter you always need to remain objective, or are there times you can be subjective?
I think, 99% of the time, absolutely, I’m mainly objective. That’s my job. In cases like forty-nine people being killed, or during Hurricane Katrina – when there were people on the roofs of their homes, and you had government officials saying it was all okay – you don’t have to say, “Wait a minute, what’s the other side of the story?” There is no other side to a senseless murder. There is no other side to government failing us. There’s a why: Why did this happen? But you don’t have to say, “Wait a minute, on the other hand…” There are stories that do not require us to be objective and say “Well, what about that lynching? Was that okay?” No it was not and the occupation does not require that of you. You’re not required to be artificial intelligence.