The video that Ms. Parker’s killer posted of her murder reveals that he was pointing a gun at her, within her field of vision, for at least 10 seconds before he opened fire. Ms. Parker was interviewing the head of the local chamber of commerce. She was too focused on doing her job well to realize her life was in danger.
“When you go on television, you lose a bit of yourself,” said Rebecca Force, a veteran television news reporter and director who is now a professor at the University of Oregon. When a reporter is on live, as Ms. Parker was, Professor Force said: “You’re in the moment. You have little time. You’re on. There is no going back and erasing it. You have just one take.”
Ms. Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, died reporting the sort of everyday, unabashedly local story that is the bread and butter of news operations everywhere. She held the mike steady as her interviewee said, “This is our community and we want to share information that will help us grow and develop …”
Young journalists operate on a strange mix of adrenaline and idealism. They savor the rush that comes with making a deadline, or conquering the stage fright of a live broadcast. And they believe that if they master those skills, they’ll contribute something important to their communities.