July 13, 2016

This essay, about being a journalist in Dallas after the fatal shooting of five police officers, originally ran on Facebook. Its author, Tom Huang, is the Sunday and enterprise editor for The Dallas Morning News and an adjunct faculty member at Poynter. It’s republished here with his permission.

  1. I’ve seen terrible things in my life, yes, but also the remarkable and the wondrous. When the comfort dogs padded into the newsroom yesterday, there was an audible gasp from my colleagues, a collective exhale. Dozens of exhausted journalists, getting on the floor, hugging the retrievers. Could the dogs tell how much sorrow was in the room, and then how much joy? A remarkable and wondrous moment.

  2. I’ve seen so many of our reporters and photojournalists venture out into the street at a time of chaos and danger, when most people sought safety. A few of the reporters were my interns just a few years ago, and I was stunned to see that they’d become everything I imagined they would become — brave, driven, committed, compassionate.

  3. I’ve seen our current class of summer interns step up and become our peers, producing Page One stories and photos and videos and digital interactives. I can’t imagine what they must be thinking. How much have they grown in the past week, as journalists and as human beings? When they look back, years from now, will they realize this was a pivotal moment in their careers, this was one of the biggest stories of their journalistic lives?

  4. I’ve seen our friends at other news organizations reach out and support us. Many of them have experienced their own terrors and traumas, in places like Phoenix, New Orleans, St. Louis, San Bernardino, among others. Their generosity has literally kept us fed in the past few days. We know we’ll need to pay this forward.

  5. As for me, I’ve abandoned my office, and every day I set up my laptop wherever I can find an open desk. Because I want to be in the middle of the newsroom. I want to see everything, I want to hear everything, I want to remember everything. I want to absorb the laughter and the shouting and the tears. Because when I’m old and decrepit and they have to drag me out of the newsroom, I’ll at least know one thing: This is what I loved.

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Tom Huang is Sunday & Enterprise Editor at The Dallas Morning News and Adjunct Faculty member of The Poynter Institute, where he oversees the school’s…
Tom Huang

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