The absolute worst part of a reporter's life? Being sent to interview friends and relatives of someone who just died — usually in accidents or by the hands of others.
My heart would pound as I knocked on the front door of a family whose father or mother, sister or brother had just died in a newsworthy way. Would a grieving relative berate me for my insensitivity? I would if I were on the other side of the door. Would I be the latest in a long line of journalists turned away? Would I find a way to satisfy my editor back in the newsroom who yelled at me as I went out the door, "Don't come back without a story!"
I found the ritual so distasteful that I mapped out a journalistic career — as a specialized reporter and as an editor — in part because it greatly reduced the chances that I'd end up on the doorstep of a family in mourning.