Hopefully most of you will never have to deal with the media directly, and for that you should be grateful. I recognize that it is a career and it’s not personal, but sometimes it can feel that way when it’s focused on you.
The media is fickle. They love you one minute and exploit you the next, pretend to care but expose your weaknesses when possible. It is an entity larger than life that can twist the most innocent words into an unrecognizable tale.
You might think I hate the media – I don’t – but it’s important to recognize it for the powerful manipulative force that it can be. It can be your best friend one minute and turn on you on a dime.
When dealing with the media, the golden rule should be to “take the high road”. When emotions are raw, it would be so easy to say something you might regret later. And for anyone on the peripheral, better also to refrain from commenting. Court cases come up and one never knows what information could taint a jury.
As I said before, one of the things I most regret was not being able to have a few minutes alone on the snow bank where Stefanie died. No matter how ridiculous it sounds, it was calling me there and I had a desperate need to answer that call. But I couldn’t because the media was relentless and pounced the minute I left the house.
We had reporters at the front, side and back doors, and to our shock, video cameras up against the back windows of our home. They would come at all hours of the day and night surely wanting us to answer the ever standard question “how does this make you feel?”. I’ve never understood that question because how is anyone suppose to answer that?
But I digress.
It was this intrusiveness that helped us form a plan for protecting our privacy. We had to make concessions for the funeral in order to have them maintain a respectful distance, but except for that we did our best as a family to restrict contact with them.
There were times when Ian (all of 13) was given notes to give us for interview requests as far away as England. A producer from the Oprah Winfry Network wanted us to do a piece and someone from Quebec as recently as this summer advised that they will be doing a 1 hour show on Stefanie’s story. Each time we chose to stay silent. It is my responsibility to recount her story – if anyone.
Once at court, things became even more of a balancing act because we became friendly with some of the reporters who covered the story. They were there with me almost every day, some more than my own family could manage. They were kind and supportive, a few I have the pleasure of now calling “friend”. It was hard to always be cautious and not say anything that might be misconstrued or quoted.
The trials were a very emotional time and it was much harder than I ever thought it was going to be. Maintaining ones composure isn’t as easy as it might look.
Managing the media requires scrutiny. There are fantastic reporters and slimy ones but when a tragedy hits, it’s not possible to weed out the bad ones and know who to trust.