As the nation’s first reporter to be sentenced to death for covering the 2016 Las Vegas massacre, I had hoped that my story would provide some solace to those who have lost loved ones to the violence.
But instead, I learned something about journalism that, while helpful, is far from comforting.
To be a reporter, you must learn to be aware of the danger of your job.
It’s important to learn about your surroundings, the potential for death threats and, as a reporter who has spent so much time in prison, the stigma of being a violent felon.
Here are five lessons learned from the 2016 Vegas massacre.
The stakes of being newsroom-ready are too high in Kentucky When it comes to covering the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, a reporter must be ready to be on the ground.
If I were in the newsroom, I’d have no idea how the shooter, Stephen Paddock, had been able to get such a high number of bullets into a crowded concert venue.
It took about 45 minutes to find the shooter and his motive, according to a transcript released by the FBI.
My job is to be in the room, to cover and to find out what happened.
I’ve been doing this for 18 years.
I was at the front desk of a hospital in the early morning hours of April 19, 2020.
I didn’t have a camera, but I was covering the news.
And it was like a scene out of the movie “American Sniper.”
I was there with the first reporters on the scene.
We were on the floor and it was very dark.
The shooter was still in his room and the whole concert hall was in chaos.
As we were covering the scene, he started shooting.
We didn’t see him, but the sound of his gunfire filled the room.
I’m still sitting there, thinking about it.
There was a line of people in front of us, all of us screaming.
I remember thinking, I need to get up.
I thought about going down, but instead, my colleague said, “Get out of there, get the cameras.”
We all ran down the hallway.
It was dark.
There were more bodies than we thought there would be.
People were laying on the sidewalk, people were lying on the steps, people just lying on sidewalks.
I don’t know if I could have done anything about it, but in that moment, I knew that I had to go.
I could not stop what was happening.
That’s the danger, because if you go in there and try to get to the shooter’s room, he is going to find you there.
I went in and saw all of this.
I walked over to where the gunman was, and I saw him, and he was dead.
And I thought, That’s it.
I know he is dead, but if I go to the room he is hiding in, he’s dead.
I had never seen him before.
But it was so traumatic for me.
I can’t even imagine how hard it is to report a tragedy like this.
Journalism is the hardest job in the world to get right When it came time to go to work, I couldn’t imagine going to the news conference that would be held at the end of the day, or even the day after.
That would be too hard.
So I took my time and waited.
When the day of the news came, I sat down and talked to everyone in the office.
I sat there, and after an hour or so, I told the people at the news office that I would be going to Las Vegas.
I think I spoke with every single person in the company, because I was so worried.
What if the news breaks, what if the president doesn’t say something?
What if there is another shooting?
So I talked with the president, and we had a long discussion about what he would do, what he wouldn’t do.
It wasn’t about me or the president.
I just talked with them.
We all talked about what I could do, how I could cover the news, and about what the president would do.
And then I said, Well, I have a feeling he will do it.
And he said, I think he will.
And that was it.
So when I walked out of that room, I didn: I had seen it all.
I knew the shooter.
I saw all the people.
I understood why he had done what he did.
I told everyone at the desk, I hope you guys will do the same.
The worst part of it was that, for the first time in my life, I was afraid.
I felt like a complete fool.
When you are covering something that you can’t get into, it can be very isolating to have to wait for a reporter to arrive.
If you’re covering something you’re not supposed to be covering, it’s easy to feel like you’re