Media pager: Who really deserves compassion

As part of my job, I’m on a rotating media pager schedule. Essentially, we’re on call after hours for any media inquiries that come in during the weeks its our turn. It’s a common practice for many communications department both private and public sector. In a world where we crave – and are used to – information anytime, anywhere, being accessible and available is crucial, especially during emergencies.

As important as it is, media pager duty can be a drag – I don’t sleep well for fear of snoozing through a call; I plan my time around “what ifs” and I can’t go far from the city, just in case.

It sucks even more when there’s a major incident like the bus crash tonight and every media outlet in western Canada calls at three-minute intervals for, literally, hours on end.

I was feeling sorry for myself and nursing my adrenaline hangover when I thought about what is really sad about situations like these: families who are on the other end of the phone getting the news their loved one was in an accident or the first responders who put everything they have into saving someone but can’t, or the hospital staff who inevitably work overtime and miss their family events, birthdays and holidays to make sure every patient coming in is taken care of in a way they’d expect.

So, after hours of fielding calls, chasing down outlets to correct misinformation and repeating updates for what felt like the 1,000th time, I sit here feeling pretty grateful.

Thanks to all of the people involved in the rescue, transport and care of the patients tonight and during every incident. It’s an inspiring reminder of why the work we do is so important.

Ok, now someone please pass me a glass of wine.


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