It could be a mass shooting like the one in Las Vegas in the fall of 2017. Or a van plowing into pedestrians along a Toronto street in the spring of 2018. If it is a big story Emanuella Grinberg will be at her desk at CNN in Atlanta writing. She’s part of a large team gathering information and funneling it towards a hungry audience.
“People like me are stitching it all together,” Emanuella says. “We try to make a narrative out of it and do any additional reporting.”
Emanuella is a digital news writer on CNN’s Breaking News Desk. The stories are often horrific. “You do have to steel yourself, to a certain degree, to come into work not knowing what the day is going to bring,” Emanuella says. “It takes resolve and some fearlessness. I am driven by the desire to tell people’s stories and to get accurate and informative reporting out there.”
Speed is crucial in breaking news—being first with a story or a piece of information—but for Emanuella and her colleagues, accuracy is paramount.
“That was instilled into me on Day One at King’s Journalism School…luckily I learned from my mistakes early on. In the digital age they are amplified. If you make a mistake people notice quickly and they will let you know.”
Emanuella grew up in New York and came to King’s to study journalism. She was in Halifax during 9/11. Her uncle died in the Towers.
“The King’s community helped me get home. I couldn’t fly so a friend drove me to Yarmouth and Kelly Castle, the dean of residence, paid my way on the ferry and the bus from Maine to NYC and back. It was a kindness I’ll never forget.”
Emanuella was also at King’s when the US went to war in Iraq. For a reporting assignment she interviewed an Iraqi refugee living in Halifax, a world away from the conflict. He told her about his fears for his country, his friends and his family. She learned a lesson she carries with her today.
“I will always remember that experience of how the bigger picture affects the individual on a granular level,” she says.
After graduating King’s, Emanuella went back to New York for an internship with Court TV. That turned into a four-year job. It ended in 2008 but it wasn’t long before she got the job writing digital news for CNN. She was part of the team that developed the first breaking news blog. She moved into features writing and production then back into breaking news.
As much as Emanuella enjoys the fast pace and adrenaline of reporting on breaking news for CNN, she loves digging into a story over time, discovering the humanity that lies at the heart of it. Occasionally she gets the chance to do just that.
“I do a lot of stories around transgender and identity issues. I have been talking with one person for a story I have been working on for a while. She has been struggling a lot. And I realized it felt more like a conversation than an interview. I think that’s when you really get the insights, when you get to the human aspects of the story, when you can connect with them as a person. I value those moments because amid all the pressure and stressors there are opportunities, here and there, to connect with people and share their stories. That’s why I am still in this profession.”
It’s a quality shared by the best journalists.
Posted: May 2018