On October 14th, 2017, a truck packed with several hundred kilograms of military-grade and homemade explosives hit the centre of Mogadishu, Somalia, killing more than 300 people and seriously injuring hundreds more.
Two days later, on October 16th, around approximately 9:00 A.M., the daily TV morning meeting for ATVN concluded. There was no mention of the bombing.
A few hours later, around 1:00 P.M. approximately, one of my anchors for the day came up to me as I sat in the lead producer’s chair, and with a facial expression I can only describe as heartbroken, asked me if I could please include the Somalian bombings in the rundown.
She went on to say that she believed it an injustice to not cover the story, even if we couldn’t add anything “extra” that major outlets had already detailed. Her opinion was that, in light of USC’s status as the most diverse and international university in the world, it was our duty as USC’s media to cover a story like this – a story which may have impacted international students on campus.
I was entirely shocked that I, an international student myself who was very recently impacted by the hurricanes in the Caribbean, did not include a story that told the tale of over 300 lives lost. I was simply too consumed, as lead producer, with stories that I knew my reporters and multimedia journalists could really develop; in my mind, the Somalian bombing didn’t fit into this category. However, my anchor proved me wrong, and secured a Skype interview with a Somalian journalist who was, at the time, physically located in Somalia.
My anchor was ultimately right – as the voice of USC’s student body, ATVN has a responsibility to tell stories that reflect and honor the diversity of this campus, and may also directly affect students. As the lead producer for that day, I failed in recognizing this responsibility. Nevertheless, I am grateful for this failure, for it has taught me to be more aware and cognizant of stories like the Somalian bombings, stories which we may not have original video for or a unique angle on, but have a right to tell in order to honor USC’s diverse student body.