One more to go after this one. Enjoy.
One of the things I like about writing for a living is the ability to turn the focus inward on occasion. I don't think I'd enjoy what I do as much as I do if I couldn't get personal every once in a while.
The flip side of that is you always run the risk of angering someone you've never even met. Journalists make nice targets for the criminals among us because they're so visible and accessible. I've touched on this in recent entries (see the post script below for a link), and the feedback I've received on the blog made this latest topic choice for the column an easy one.
Here's what I scribbled.
Live by the quill, die by the quillPost script: If you haven't read about the reader who called me at home the day after this piece was published, click here. Irony and prescience; quite the combination.
Published Friday, January 6, 2006
The London Free Press
The popular perception of journalists is that they have it easy. Make a few calls, tap out a few words, call it a day.
Nice work if you can get it, right? Wrong.
It turns out covering news for a living can hasten your demise. The Committee to Protect Journalists says 47 of us were killed in 2005.
Despite the popular perception that most victims lost their lives on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the sad truth is over 70 per cent were deliberately murdered.
Writing can get you killed. I must have missed that class in journalism school.
I’m not a paranoid person, but whenever I receive a spooky e-mail or phone message in response to something I’ve written, I wonder about the vulnerability of anyone who writes for a living.
The fact that people die in the process of keeping us informed underscores just how important a free press is to a functioning democratic society. It’s something I keep in mind every time I pick up my pen.
Your turn: No question this time out. I would simply ask that you allow this to settle on your mind for a moment, and that you read bylines a little more closely to get a better appreciation of the brave souls out there who set everything aside to ensure we are informed. The idealism with which I entered this profession seems to be alive and well all these years later.