A Dangerous job
Ian's Rural Ramblings
One wouldn’t think it as people see reporters wandering around an event notebook in hand and toting a camera that there was danger in journalism. Au contraire, danger there is and danger there always has been.
When one thinks of journalists in danger one might be thinking about members of my profession working in war zones, unstable and dangerous regimes or working feverishly to uncover corruption and cover ups in high places. And, one would be right.
South of the border a certain gentleman in charge has, some may say justifiably, tarred journalism and journalists with the fake news banner. In fairness, some journalists are more ethical than others and I’ve met some that would stampede over their own mother to get the story. Overall though I would say that the majority that I’ve met and worked with during my two decades plus career in the media have been ethical, balanced and fair.
That is not to say that being ethical, balanced and fair does not mean that these journalists will not want to get to the bottom of the story. That is not a mistake that anyone invoking the right or desire to go to the press should make. There are two sides to every story and any journalist doing their job properly should tell it both ways, unless they are bias (I’ve seen that too) or subjected to outside or internal influences on the story. I’ve seen that too and to their credit I’ve seen people resign rather than tow the line that they’ve been given.
I’ve worked freelance or self-employed for most of my media career, but I have been a staffer too and as such there was an expectation, not quite pressure for me but it was and is in some news organizations, to have an accessible social media presence for the readers. I can understand that.
The trouble is that accessibility to the readership is a two-way street and some of the feedback can be unpleasant at best and downright threatening at worst. I’ve recently read that a senior BBC political correspondent may have been provided with an ex military bodyguard for when she’s on assignment. One would reasonably expect the politician/ celebrity to have security but for journalists to have to have it too? Photojournalists recording demonstrations more than ever now are at great risk of physical harm and/or having their equipment stolen or damaged. Where does this end?
To preserve some safety, I make no apologies for keeping my personal and work social media entirely separate and for having beefed up the settings. Strangeness thrives it seems. If I had ten dollars for every wacky tale I’ve been told during my work, I would be a lot better off than I am. Only recently having lunch with my family a person opinioned that thieves, if they’re caught in the act, should be hanged on the spot and others should have their fingers, then hands then presumably other extremities removed. I guess we may not be too far from the middle ages after all. How much is chain mail these days?