Friday, May 11, 2007

For what it’s worth

I could never be a journalist. I mean, I know I'm a member of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), but that's because the union is open to editors, photographers, designers, etc, not just journalists.

I admire greatly what journalists do. How could I not? Some of these people put themselves in positions of great danger on a daily basis simply to inform those of us in our comfy chairs just how good we've got it.

Sometime last week I rather belatedly added the Alan Johnston button to my sidebar. I notice that a few of my UK blogpals have done the same.

Alan was kidnapped two months ago while working in Gaza, where he has lived for the past two years -- the only foreign journalist in the area.

I hope he returns safe and sound soon, but the more time passes, the more difficult it must be for anyone to see a happy outcome. Especially given that we have no evidence he is even still alive.

Last night, Alan Johnston was named Broadcast Journalist of the Year. Would he have been awarded this if he had not been kidnapped? Who knows. Certainly we know that his nomination was made before his disappearance, so maybe he would have.

And even if he wouldn't, does that matter? Doesn't the very fact that he has been kidnapped somehow mean he should be given some sort of award? He doesn't have to be there, y'know? He could just as easily be covering safer stories back home in the UK. On the whole, no one would think any less of him for that.

Is it worth it? Being kidnapped, putting your life on the line, just to bring truth to the great unwashed. Who can say? For some people it is. For me, I'm sorry to say it's not. For me, personally, that is. What do they say? "It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it."

What frustrates me in all this is that there is a horribly high chance that Johnston was taken by Palestinians. But how fucking dumb is that? Knowing how pro-Palestine we are in the UK, to then go and kidnap (and possibly worse) one of the people out there bringing your story the attention it deserves... That's got to be the height of stupidity.

Anyway, why not click the Alan Johnston button in my sidebar? Why not put it on your own blog? Events such as 9/11 and 7/7 reinforce the bravery of firefighters, the police, and paramedics, but reporters in hostile areas are out their doing their thing every day too. Why not show some support?

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Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Stupid doesn't cover it.

Poor bloke.


11 May, 2007 10:53  
Blogger Milla said...

I agree with you *A, on most things you wrote in this post, but then I think: he took the decision to go where he went, he is a very intelligent man and he knew what the difficulties and risks were, so to some extent this kind of fate was to be expected?

Well, I hope that if he is alive, he is not in any pain; because if he is, it's better if he was dead.
I do feel for hims family a lot, for this situation of 'not knowing' about his fate.

Maybe I am a bit cynical on these things sometimes?

11 May, 2007 13:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I would not want to be a journalist. I like my comfy life. There are a slew of journalists annually who get kidnapped, injured, killed, you name it, all in the name of getting news to us. I think its important work and I feel bad for their loved ones. I have no opinion on this particular journalist getting an award or not, as I'm a bit uninformed of his particular work.

11 May, 2007 14:12  
Blogger furiousBall said...

Yeah, that's an odd nod to give, but then again, I'm totally not familiar with the guy's work, he might very well be THE journalist of the year. But it does smack of smackery.

11 May, 2007 15:11  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Did you know that I started out studying Journalism? When I told my father I wanted to be an artist he said what else do you like doing? I said writing. He said why not try Journalism? Besides, i had been very eager beaver on my high school newspaper blah blah blah.

I am glad for the experience of taking that course and the time it never occured to em it might be a dangerous occupation. Well, okay doing stories about Miss Vancouver's dreams in a tiara may have distracted me from war, famine and bombs at the time.

I also it just some weird perception of mine, or is it true....

That it has actually become more dangerous to be a Journalist now? Didn't there used to be some kind of honor thing for Journalists? They could cross borders, travel freely, and have protection from sort of like a Geneva style set of engagement? I seem to have a weird idea that an old school deal one simply just did not fuck over journalists. Not in regular non-combat settings. i can imagine soem Vietnam reporters may have become political prisoners just because they were traveling with soldiers...but did that happen? I wonder...or did their press credentials mean some kind of immunity?

My bro-in-law is a Journalist ya know? Yeah, The Underground Bakers hubby. He was going to jerusalem last year took an overnight flight, and when he landed got into a taxi and the driver asked him all questions what are your plans etc and my bro-in-law said, I'm going to Gaza tomorrow. The car almost crashed. Apparently while he was sleeping on the plane...the July war broke out...he had no idea when he landed how during his flight things went from shit to worse. He became an official war correspondant that trip last summer.

He and his co-workers have had a srt of boot camp program...learning how to identify the sounds of bullets and which direction they are going...and they all have PTSD counseling.

Good times.

11 May, 2007 15:25  
Blogger Lee said...

There are many jobs that hold no interest for me. One where I could be kidnapped is at the top. Different strokes for different folks. I will continue to hope for a happy ending.

11 May, 2007 17:16  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

thanks for sharing this with us. sadly, i've stopped paying attention to the news... guess i've sort of thought i have bigger, already depressing things going on in my life. but i realize how disrespectful and... stupid, really... that is.

thanks for always keeping me informed :)

11 May, 2007 23:06  
Blogger Sheamus the... said...

i used to live with a journalist. He journaled me as well. I couldnt be him either. Although i have always wanted to speak Hutteese as well as he can.

12 May, 2007 02:16  
Blogger Audible said...

Journalists. Everyone hates us, truthfully. People are pissed off when we invade people's spaces - and are even more offended when we decide not to cover something altogether, as if we're snubbing them for not being important.

How far along are you on heroes? drop by the blog and let me know so I don't miss your comment back.

12 May, 2007 04:25  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

Hope he's still alive but probably isn't.

12 May, 2007 17:20  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Candy: That was a really interesting comment, thanks. Wow, the Baker must hate when he goes to these war-torn countries, no? I too thought there used to be some sort of immunity for journos. These days, who knows? All's fair in love and war, and we got a whole heap of war to go around.

13 May, 2007 16:35  
Blogger Underground Baker said...

hey -ya guys,
Interesting comments...tough topic, since the media is such a machine. It is sometimes hard to separate the reporters from the machine.
I think who ever kidnapped the reporter are idiots, and even those the kidnappers think they are representing are probably pissed off, since it seems to me that it is all a game of how you can get the media to portray you, (or your agenda), especially in that neck of the woods.

15 May, 2007 21:07  
Blogger Pendullum said...

So very true...
I ampretty fortunate as I know a few journalists firsthand and know of the sacrafice that they and their families go through...

16 May, 2007 14:28  

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