We spend a lot of time thinking about other people. Observing and reporting the happenings outside the newsroom is basically what we do all day, every day as journalists. But sometimes the news happens to us.
Last June five Annapolis Capital Gazette reporters — Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters and John McNamara — were killed in their newsroom by a lone shooter.
So far this year, three journalists have been murdered; Rafael Murúa Manríquez of Radiokoshana FM in Mexico; Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela of Tiger Eye Private Investigations in Ghana; and Leonardo Gabriel Hernández of Valle TV in Honduras.
Just yesterday, an alleged United Arab Emirates spy — linked to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi — died inside his Turkish jail cell.
Journalists, and the perils of journalism, too often are making the news. 2018 was a particularly bad year, as the number of journalists killed because of their profession doubled to 53 worldwide.
Today is a day for remembering why journalists do what they do, and the important function journalism provides to our democracy.
Internationally acclaimed journalist and professor at American University of Beirut Rami Khouri visited the newsroom yesterday. He complimented our coverage of stories that matter to our readers and called local newspapers “the critical heart” of journalism.
He spoke about our Constitutional right to be an informed public, and the local media’s role in connecting people to their government. Khouri also addressed the dangerous convergence of commercialism, political ideology and entertainment in journalism today that has contributed to both a lack of quality journalism and a lack in trust in the mainstream media.
He also spoke of the importance of teaching and learning from young journalists who will be key to “holding the gavel” on an impartial and fair rendition of events in a highly polarized and increasingly politicized world.
Press Freedom Day is a day to examine these issues facing our industry, and also to recognize how lucky we are to do the job we do in a safe environment with readers who value and support us.
This day is to recognize we all play a role in the freedoms we enjoy.
The International Affairs Forum presents Rami Khouri at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the State Theatre. Tickets are $5. No charge for students and journalists.