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Covering The Everyday, In Times Of Crisis

Having trouble finding the right words? Christo de Klerk/Flickr hide caption

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Christo de Klerk/Flickr

Having trouble finding the right words?

Christo de Klerk/Flickr

When disasters happen, like the one underway in Japan, it can be tough to find the right tone on blogs like this one. There's no way we're not aware of the devastation, of the death and fear. We're journalists, and we're all over the story (be sure to catch our special live coverage from our first hour today, a special on Japan — audio posts at 6pm ET).

But this blog is about the things that don't make it to our air, and besides, we have a fantastic news blog — The Two-Way — where the story is constantly updated. So what's the right tone for all the writers in the world who focus on things other than the day's news, but who cannot possibly ignore the day's news?

Ruth Reichl ran into this problem headlong... Or perhaps, it may be more accurate to say she was sideswiped by it. She tweeted on Friday, as she does, about food, and received a critical response:

What planet are you on? The one WITHOUT thousands dying from an earthquake? SO FINE?!?!?!

She'd tweeted before she'd seen the news about Japan, but still, it moved her to think, and then to write.

There is no time, ever, in which a terrible disaster is not taking place somewhere on the planet. And thanks to modern technology, we know all about it almost immediately... But in the face of ongoing disaster, it is also our moral responsibility to appreciate what we have. That is why cooking good food for the people that I love is so important to me; in a world filled with no, it is a big yes.

So eat a good breakfast. Be grateful for what you've got. Enjoy the sunshine while you've got it. Then go out and save the world.

So, she seems to say, try not to feel guilty if you think of other things when disasters, protracted and immediate, are ongoing. In a tweet yesterday, she made it clear she's figuring out her own balance:

I hope you do, too.