The Business of Empathy.

  • Eating: Mo’s Bacon Bar.
  • Listening to: Kiss Each Other Clean (again).
  • Wearing: My dear, dear fur vest. It’s just cold enough for a coat, but not so much so that sleeves are a must-have. Under that, I’ve got on a satin & lace vintage find I crafted into a top, my muddy-pink cords & vintage Brazilian leather booties.

Last week I found myself in a meeting with a seasoned journalist from DC, come down to Tennessee to recruit students for an internship program &, if inadvertently, impart wisdom. Before I could catch my breath I was scrambling through my bag to write down these words the moment they had left his mouth.

“Everybody in this town has more stories than you.”

He was referring to getting the scoop on capital hill, finding an ignored angle & chasing it, not discounting the part of town or person most of us would pass by. But it hit me that his words were true everywhere, in every situation. They are true in Tennessee, in Carolina, in New York. They are true in journalism, most definitely, but they are true simply in life, as well. It’s not all about me.

I had the chance to listen to some wonderful speakers at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference in Fort Worth this weekend who reiterated this concept. “Go to your back yard,” they repeated. We’re all trying to get overseas & tell those stories that we put on a platform, when perhaps, once we’ve elevated ourselves above & forgotten about our communities, all we’re doing is building our own stories.

Journalism — storytelling — it’s all about the subject. We’re in the business of empathy, of forgetting ourselves.

So a big thanks to everyone who contributed to this reminder. It came at a good time.

But more on that to come! For now, it’s good to be back in town. Hopefully you’ll be hearing much more from me now I am settled down.