“How can one write about “bad” people”
It is often the case when journalists are blamed for their help to untrustworthy people: there is an opinion in the society that these people are not to be helped. Such help is considered to be useless as a homeless person is the one who drinks too much, an orphan is unemployed due to his or her laziness while a mother with many children should have thought twice before having so many mouths to feed and now she has no food for her family. But the fact is when a journalist tries to learn more about lives of such people asking questions and learning the truth, it becomes clear that the person in the story just got unlucky, something unexpected happened and actually he or she are not happy with where they are at the moment. Which means these people are ready to do something to change the situation. Snezhanna Sokolova, a reporter from “Uglegorsk News”, the paper in the Sakhalin region, along with other journalists from district and municipal papers shared how one can write about “bad” people.
“Most people would not like it: it takes a lot of effort to deal with these issues”
“Most people would not like it: it takes a lot of effort to deal with these issues” said Snezhanna about the people in her stories. “Sometimes I am asking myself: why do I have to do anything with this? For instance, once I was at a bus stop and heard someone telling about a homeless man who had no passport. I remembered the facts, found the man, helped him get a new passport; they took him to a hospital where he could eat well and get comfortable. A lot of people from the local administration had to be involved; as a result they redecorated his flat…And to do all of this I had to go everywhere by myself, to visit all the bureaucratic offices” – told Snezhanna from Uglegorsk.
“And why would I do it just to write a small article?”
“I came to Sakhalin from the Kemerovo region 5 years ago” – she says. “I feel comfortable here. I love going to small settlements and finding stories about common people. I like the fact that people here like reading newspapers, and the newspapers can help” – says Snezhanna. Then she adds: “And why would I do it just to write a small article? Besides, my boss was not happy with this article of mine as there are some people who write to us saying that articles about the homeless are a waste of time and there are other better people who deserve journalists’ attention. Why does the local paper mention a homeless man?” – shared Snezhanna Sokolova, a reporter from “Uglegorsk News”.But that is the topic the journalist feels to be important. And according to the reporter, the newspaper is really helpful and therefore both people and the administration body of the Uglegorsk district treat the paper with respect. “There are times when I feel angry at people when I see they live in poor conditions due to their laziness. But in this case the mayor says to me: “Snezhanna, we have no idea what we could have done in the same situation. Perhaps this person is good”. So, the mayor helps me solve housing problems, allocates financial support from the administration” – told the Sakhalin reporter.