OPINION: Offer your sympathy, not your judgment

ALMOST every journalist will report on a tragedy at some point in their career.

Whether it's a car crash, an accident, a murder, sexual assault, or a natural disaster.

Every one of us in this office has reported on at least one of the above.

It is not easy, and it never gets easier.

We try to report on tragedies accurately, respectfully and ethically and we'd like our readers to treat those tragedies the same way.

When someone dies, it is time for you to offer your sympathy, not your opinion.

For the deceased person's nearest and dearest, social media can be a deeply overwhelming and upsetting platform in the immediate aftermath, and even long after a person's death.

People grieve in different ways.

What might seem okay and comforting to some can be upsetting for others.

Knowing what is and isn't appropriate can be extremely hard to gauge.

For loved ones, hearing 'what ifs' and 'shouldn't haves' will never help with their grieving process.

Sharing your opinion about the death of someone on a public platform could reach someone who doesn't want or need to be in contact with that kind of information.

So next time you're thinking about posting a comment to Facebook in the wake of a tragedy, consider the reach that your comment might have.