Reporters Who Couldn't Hold Back Emotions While Reporting On A Story

When you watch the evening news, you may take for granted just how difficult it is to be a television reporter. While we're all guilty of laughing at a flubbed word in the weather forecast or cringing at a joke that slightly missed the mark, there's no denying the heart and soul these reporters put into their work. This is especially true when it comes to reporting on things no one even likes to talk about.

Leigh Scheps explained the lesser known truths of being a TV news reporter to Cosmopolitan. "You have to learn how to separate your emotions in order to focus on the news at hand." Scheps has covered stories from fatal car accidents to murder  — and it's all in a day's work. She explained, "My job is to cover what happened and push my personal emotions aside." However, there are some days when this task becomes impossible. Here are some examples of reporters who just couldn't reign in their emotions on the job.

That moment when your brother gets nominated for an Academy Award

When something good happens to a member of your family, how do you react? If you're CNN reporter Zain Asher, you break down in tears. Asher's brother just so happens to be Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in 12 Years a Slave in 2014.

When your job is to report on the nominees, and the nominees include your brother, you can imagine the emotion involved. Asher's voice began to waver as she relayed her feelings, saying, "Just watching him get this nomination, it is a true testament to the importance of hard work." Asher started crying and followed up with some laughter. 

She went on to highlight the significance of her brother's Academy Award nomination, "This is a moment that, not just him, but everyone in my family, has been waiting for, for pretty much 20 years." Asher told of her parents immigrating from Nigeria when the country was in the midst of a war. The family had no money when they arrived. "So, to see their son nominated for an Oscar is just unbelievable," Asher said as she choked back tears. No doubt Asher's parents are proud of all of their children's accomplishments.

Crying with dignity

In 2011, the documentary How to Die in Oregon premiered at Sundance Film Festival. According to The New York Times, it took filmmaker, Peter D. Richardson, four years and nearly $750,000 to make. The film follows a woman named Cody Curtis who, at the time, was a 54-year-old wife and mother of two suffering with liver cancer. She endured excruciating pain that even morphine was unable to dull. Curtis made the decision to "die with dignity" by choosing assisted suicide over living out her final days in suffering. The Times reported that audience members sobbed as they watched the upsetting, yet also uplifting, documentary. 

Some years later, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin interviewed Cody Curtis' husband, Stan Curtis, and she, too, had trouble holding back tears. "Death is part of life," he said through tear-filled eyes. When explaining the final moments of his wife's life, he said, "To have her mother there and her father there, who were some of the most uncomfortable with the whole scenario ... that was terrific." In watching the video, you will feel compelled to try to reach through your screen and hug him. With a shaking voice and acknowledging how tough it is to talk about, Baldwin thanked Curtis, saying, "I have such respect for you for, five years later, for having the strength to come on and tell her story." 

A terrifying close call

KTVU reporter Alex Savidge could have been killed if not for his cameraman Chip Vaughan's quick instincts. Savidge was reporting on-camera when Vaughan signaled him to move out of the way, just moments before an out-of-control vehicle swerved into the exact spot where he had been standing. Hugging Vaughan, Savidge thanked him for saving his life. "It's scary," Savidge said on live television, obviously shaken by the close-call. 

Although Savidge was no doubt relieved that he and his cameraman were safe, he quickly became concerned that his wife would hear of the incident online. Not wanting her to receive misinformation or become unnecessarily concerned, he told the camera, "I haven't been able to call her. I just want to tell my wife I'm okay." One of KTVU's anchors assured him, "We're gonna call her here ourselves." 

Can you even imagine how you would react if that happened to you while on live TV? Although he was visibly shaken, it's amazing he even stayed relatively calm.

Completely overcome by the call to prayer

According to Why Islam, the Islamic call to prayer, or the adhan as it is named, is an important part of worship in the Muslim faith. The adhan is broadcast through the streets five times per day in Muslim communities, like Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. This call to prayer is also the very first phrase said to a newborn child, among the first lines recited in a new home, and it can also be heard in schools and places of worship. 

A BBC reporter had the opportunity to hear the adhan for the first time during her visit to Jeddah. From one rooftop, the reporter could hear the adhan ringing out from 36 different mosques in just about one-third of a mile. "It's such an incredible sight and sound that I find myself completely overcome," she explained as she wiped away tears. The adhan is projected with the use of speakers but it is live and never recorded, making the experience that much more authentic. 

A sign of hope in Paris

In 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks killed more than 130 people and shook the community of Paris, France. Vigils covered the streets of Paris and the Eiffel Tower was lit red, white, and blue — the colors of France's flag. Although this tragedy was unquestionably horrible, BBC News reporter Graham Satchell remained optimistic. Referring to the illumination of the Eiffel Tower, he explained how he viewed it as a "sign of hope." With a quivering voice, he ended his broadcast, saying, "There is certainly hope here in Paris." As he turned the report over to fellow BBC anchors, you could hear Satchell begin to cry as he walked out of view of the camera. 

Reporting on what he saw in Paris was clearly incredibly challenging and deeply upsetting. Although he appeared uncomfortable when he got emotional, viewers could surely relate and were no doubt mourning alongside him.

The most horrific thing he's ever seen

No matter the news, reporters are responsible for relaying information to viewers. On May 20, 2013, a devastating tornado hit Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma. The natural disaster spanned 17 miles and lasted 40 long minutes. It left piles of rubble and seven deceased children in its wake. Some piles of rubble were nearly 40 feet tall with desks and metal furnishings pinning both teachers and children, CNN reported.

Just seeing the remains of the school was enough to send your mind spiraling, fearful for the children trapped inside. KFOR Oklahoma's News reporter Lance West was on the scene reporting what he witnessed and it wasn't long before he became emotional. "I've never seen anything like this in my eighteen years covering tornados here in Oklahoma City. This is, without question, the most horrific thing I've ever seen," West said as his voice quaked. 

A KFOR anchor jumped in to allow West to compose himself, and explained his emotional response to viewers: "You got to understand, when you go down to these scenes and you see this first hand — not just through the prism of the television but when you're there living it — it is an extremely emotional event for reporters as well as all those involved."

The missing Malaysian Airline flight

Reporter James Chau was on the scene in Kuala Lumpur, covering the assumed devastating fate of missing Malaysian Airline flight MH370. Covering his face as he began to cry, Chau told his fellow CCTV anchor and viewers of his conversations with some of the missing passengers' family members. Although all 227 passengers and 12 crew members are considered deceased, it is unknown, as of 2018, what exactly happened to flight MH370.

In January of 2018, Malaysia's government approved a new investigation into the plane's disappearance, NBC News reported. Search crews will resume investigating an area of 9,653 miles — a location determined by experts. Prior to this investigation, officials and experts were neither able to discern the cause for the missing airplane or an exact location of the wreckage. However, with this new targeted investigation, hopefully Chau and other reporters will be able to provide some comfort to families by covering any new information revealed about the missing flight.