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Sunday, 26 February 2012

What price a dead hero?

I grew up thinking that all journalists were equal - ok, more than that - that they were all noble people trying to bring the news to the outside world for the greater good of us all. Or something like that.  Looking back I suppose it was inevitable that I thought that way, really. I was naive, easily swayed and, most importantly, my father was a journalist. Dads are always right - ok?

When I began my own journalists' training I soon realised that nothing was as  I had imagined. In one of my  early roles as court reporter on  the local evening newspaper, I was frequently sworn at, often berated and once threatened ( by the six foot-plus brother of a thief who had just been jailed.)

Soon after, I was asked to interview a woman whose three-year-old daughter was born with spina bifida,a condition that leaves part of the spine exposed and comes with many complications, including water on the brain or hydrocephalus. The mother had been told that her daughter would never walk, but then, without warning, a miracle happened.

'One day I just looked at her and said, 'Come to Mummy, '  the mother told me, 'and she did.'

That story touched so many hearts (including mine) and gave me my first sense of the ability to share something powerful and good.

Last summer's closure of the News of the World seemed almost inevitable after it was revealed that reporters had hacked into the voice-mail of murdered Milly Dowler. Journalists, it seemed, had reached rock-bottom  in their quest for a 'scoop.' It was easy for any of us, in or out of the 'profession' to label all red-top journalists as worse than scum.  Not least because, initially, they denied their crime. Shrieks of 'It wasn't me - it was him, sir,' bring me on to moral issues I have no room to discuss here.

But just when the world of journalism can sink no lower, we hear of Marie Colvin, an extremely brave and exceptionally dedicated war reporter who regularly confronted the dangers of telling the truth. She wanted to bring the Syrian atrocities to the notice of the entire world and she paid the highest price

I can never hope to have a tiny speck of her courage, or understand why she was prepared to sacrifice so much, but it heartens me to think that she represents a small minority of people who believe that this world is still worth fighting for.


Nikki-ann said...

Few mention what our war correspondants and photographers go through to bring us news of what's going on in these war-torn places.

Gloria Horsehound said...

Good post.Agree entirely with you. Especially about dads always being right... Mine certainly was.

And thank you for commenting on my last post. A post about charity shops will soon appear, so keep a look out.


Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks to Niki-ann and Gloria for dropping by my blog and, most of all, for agreeing with the sentiments.