Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.
This message has been filed by Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger of Reuters, regarding the recent death of a Reuters photographer in Iraq:
Once again, Reuters staff have died covering the war in Iraq.
When is a story worth a life?
The answer, of course, is never.
And yet, six Reuters’ deaths later, we’re still in Iraq, still covering the story.
Reuters Ukrainian cameraman Taras Protsyuk was killed in April 2003. Reuters Palestinian cameraman Mazen Dana was killed four months later. Reuters Iraqi freelance cameraman Dhia Najim was killed in November 2004. Reuters Iraqi soundman Waleed Khaled was killed in August 2005. And in July 2007, Reuters Iraqi photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and Reuters driver Saeed Chmagh were killed.
All of the victims were visual journalists and the people who work with them. To get the story they must get close to the action.
To a journalist reporting the action is the entire reason we are in the profession. We tell the story. We tell what happened. We put it in context. We show; we describe; we explain.
Some do it in words, and that can be done from the office, which, in a place like Iraq, can be horrifically dangerous too. Some do it in pictures and video, and that must be done from the front. And that means taking a risk.
Imagine a world where no one took the risks.
Imagine a world where wars happened in secrecy.
Imagine a world where heroism, tragedy, death and life never got reported or were only filtered through official versions.
Imagine a world where you, as a citizen of whatever country you are reading this in, just didn’t have the information you needed to make up your mind.
There aren’t many news organizations left in Iraq. The ones that are there take a terrible calculated risk. We at Reuters, like our colleagues at other major organization, struggle endlessly to make the dangerous safer, to understand the risks and to mitigate the risks. The cause of journalist safety is a vital one.
Foreign staff and Iraqi staff together put nationalities aside, put religion aside and put sectarianism aside to bring the story out day after day. They do it because they believe with every cell of their souls that telling the story truthfully and fully is a vital service and a sacred obligation.
They do it because they are journalists.
Our Reuters staff in Iraq exemplifies this creed. Read their stories. View their pictures. Watch their video. And know that they are there because they believe you need to know what is happening.
Taras, Mazen, Dhia, Waleed, Namir and Saeed. We at Reuters salute you. We salute your many colleagues from other news organizations who also have died. We salute your colleagues in the bureau today, who are striving to tell the story.
In order to appreciate this fully, I recommend you step back for a moment and reflect on the loads of post-modern, transnational new-ageism woven throughout this piece.