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Stephen Reno




Take Good Care of Yourself
Granite Views: Stephen Reno

08/07/14
By Stephen Reno



News of developments in World War I came through the telegraph and newspapers. For World War II, many of us watched the newsreels that were a fixture of our weekly trip to the movies.  It is often said that the Vietnam War was the first to be brought into our living rooms.

Today, of course, anyone with a smart phone, tablet, or computer can have near instantaneous access to the horror, misery and suffering of war, whether it is in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine or, just now, Gaza and Israel.
But with such “convenience,” it is likely that we fail to understand, much less acknowledge or appreciate, the personal risk of the journalists who bring us that coverage.
For many of us, the outbreak of a riot, the shelling of a neighborhood, or the impending knock of troops on one’s door would send us scurrying for cover. But for the professional reporter or photographer, their instinct, no matter how tempered by fear, is to rush out and into the fray. With HD pictures and sound, they bring us everything except the smells and tastes of events in places many would be hard-pressed to locate on a map.
The press pass, which once virtually guaranteed safe passage to the wearer, has today nearly become a bullseye, marking the journalist. The statistics of their profession are more than sobering. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, since 1992, 1,068 journalists have been killed. Twenty-eight have died in the line of duty so far this year. They gave their lives, knowing the risks, because they were so committed to the value that we all have the right to know what is really happening, whether it be the actions of the narco gangs in Mexico, the ISIS in Iraq, or the rival militias clashing in the Central African Republic. Not surprisingly, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories are the most dangerous regions and armed conflict the most dangerous beat.
But every day we pick up the paper, go to our online news aggregator, or tune into NHPR, the network news or the PBS News Hour, the distillate of their labors is ours to have.
Perhaps an occasional pause and thought of gratitude is in order for all of us.
Personally, I find it reassuring when on those occasions, the newsroom anchor speaking with a journalist in an extremely risky part of the world signs off with thanks and adds: “Please take good care of yourself!”
Amen! 
Stephen Reno is executive director of Leadership New Hampshire and former chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire. His email is stepreno@gmail.com.
 
As seen in the August 7, 2014 issue of the Hippo. 





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