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Response to Virginia Journalists' Deaths

   Our hearts are heavy with the news about WDBJ's Alison Parker and Adam Ward. What happened to these two bright young broadcasters will spark many conversations in the future: for now, we need grieve for them, their families, their co-workers, and their viewers. Even though most of us do not know them, we know people just like them in every market. They are our co-workers, our students, our rivals, our fellow Illinois News Broadcasters Association members. Alison and Adam were doing what we do every day. They were letting people know what was going on in their community. They did not deserve this. No one does, in any industry.

   Every newsroom leader had to feel a pang that wasn’t there yesterday as they sent their reporters out into the field. We expect our colleagues to return safely to our newsrooms: we expect them to get the story, not be the story. What happened to Alison and Adam may have changed how we pursue a story today, out of respect for them or fear of similar incidents. But it won’t change how we report in the future. As one colleague pointed out to her students, there are sick people in every business: young journalists should not be discouraged from pursuing this career. It’s also a reminder that we need to listen to each other and take concerns seriously.

   On behalf of INBA, we send our most sincere condolences to everyone involved in this tragedy.

   Take care, everyone. This violence hits us at home.

   Sue Stephens
   President, Illinois News Broadcasters Association