Every news room has a guy like Adam Ward.
He is the guy who breaks the ice and leaves you in stitches. He is the first guy to lend a helping hand when the newsroom needs it. He acts like a big brother to young journalists and will do anything to make things better and brighter – even if it means wearing a dress or a funny hat.
That is what Adam Ward was, the WDBJ camera man who was murdered on live television earlier this week.
The newsroom needs a man like this. Our jobs are stressful and punctuated with long hours. We are human beings. We snap and say things we do not mean. Things are sometimes as tense and intense as an NFL huddle. Deadlines come and go. Tough decisions on stories are made. I’ve even seen guys rush at each other trying to provide choke holds.
We need a stress relief. That is what a guy like Ward provides.
We needed a guy like “The Duke” who I worked with as a young journalist at the Detroit Free Press. The Duke had a long beard, wore penny loafers and had us in stitches. We needed it because we were mostly a young staff learning our craft. Everything did not always work out but The Duke made sure we enjoyed being journalists.
He organized lunches and outings. We once went water sliding for lunch. It was fun and at the time we needed it.
Ward was 27 years old when he was murdered and there were plenty more jokes and fun times ahead of him and the people he worked with. There won’t be as much laughter in the world because of the actions of one sick and evil man.
The newsroom leaned on Ward. It needed him. We all did.