Cameron Rasmusson’s eloquent opinion piece in the Reader — chronicling the bravery of the Annapolis, Md., newspaper staff’s vow to publish a newspaper after five of their members were killed by a gunman — resonates with anyone who ever worked at or dreamed of being a journalist in this country.
As a former journalist (Idaho Statesman, Albuquerque Journal, United Press International) I realized the difficulties of learning the trade and then walking the fine line of determining the truth (the facts) among the myriad distortions and misinformation disseminated by our elected officials and others with axes to grind.
As Cameron points out, today’s journalists face a daunting task in honestly reporting the facts when our president calls it “fake news” whenever they accurately report an egregious act perpetrated by himself or a cohort, and then labels the reporters as “enemies of the people.”
Rasmusson accurately describes that “the vast majority of journalism jobs offer little pay for long hours.” And journalists are exposed to criticism, threats and harassment for doing their jobs –- which are essential in preserving our democracy (i.e. the Watergate investigation). But journalists realize that if they don’t respect and expose the truth, no one will.
Newspapers across the country paused last Thursday to observe a moment of silence honoring the five employees of the Annapolis Capital Gazette’s staff who were killed. “I can tell you this. We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” the Maryland newspaper staff reporter had said.