Fair and balanced … and compassionate

One — of many things — you don’t learn in “J-School” is that part of your job description will be mental health counselor.

Your job puts you in a position where you encounter people in their darkest hour. And you will be the one they vent on. You will be sworn at, threatened and maybe even assaulted.

It’s a role that requires patience, grace and diplomacy. And a concealed carry permit.

I’m kidding about the latter.

There was a murder case years ago in which a family member came down to the paper and vented on me in front of God and everyone. I remained polite and calm, maintaining eye contact, trying to convey a message that it was OK to unload, that I was willing to take some of that pain from the guy.

Afterward, I told those who witnessed the encounter that he would apologize someday. They didn’t believe me. It was that virulent a tongue-lashing.

It took three years, but he did apologize.

Sometimes the job can be rewarding in ways you never imagined.

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