Telling it and Feeling it

There's a big difference between telling it and feeling it, and a well known warning. 

As the old saying would have it - Don't get involved. 

It's there to protect your professionalism, and yourself. 

And I understand the sentiment, but I've never agreed. 

This week, I had the distressing task of reporting on a fire which destroyed an historic hotel, right in the heart of my beloved Exeter home town. 

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As a journalist, maybe I should have just said what was happening and left it at that. The who, what, where, why, when and how. 

But some stories have a deeper dimension. 

So in I waded, with a sense of how it felt. I told it from the perspective of the people who lived and worked in Exeter, those who fought the fire, and also a little of my own thoughts. 

Because sometimes the feelings are just as important as the facts. 

And I was overwhelmed by the response I received. 

So many people stopped me in the street, or got in touch via social media, to agree. At the pervasive, grey and misty sadness of the loss of hundreds of years of history in just a few hours. 

And as so often, what's right in journalism also works in the rest of writing. 

Be it novel, short story, play or poetry - who wants to just see and hear what's going on? 

We need to feel it.

Because we're people, and feelings are what we're made of.