Facing the Dangers of Journalism

Last week, I read this column by Ruben Navarrette, a columnist who appears in the Contra Costa Times (you've read some of his work before). It brought to mind the recent essay assignment in class where you had to write on why it's important to have a free and independent media. For years, journalists around the world have faced danger because of their reporting, but frequently that reporting brings about public awareness and great change.

In a thoughtful comment, discuss the pros and cons of reporting in dangerous situations. Is it imperative that journalists continue to report on issues vital to public health and safety even if they put their own lives at risk? Why or why not?

64 comments:

Savanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Savanna said...

Being a journalist is a risky business. Some people get upset at what is said and how they are potrayed, and for that reason journalists are putting themselves at risk. There are many other risky things journalists have to do such as go into war zones, and what not. As a journalist it is one's job to report the news; no matter what. Just as firefighters and police put their life at risk everyday, so do journalists. Good journalists are the ones who do whatever it takes to got the story published.

Samson Tong said...

Reporting in various dangerous situations have pros and cons. Advantages include, an interesting widely read story but is it worth it knowing what the writer must go through? In order to put together a decent story on a dangerous situation the writer has to find a person to interview who is involved with the situation.

rachel said...

I think that getting information to millions of people who need it is worth one person's life. To be completely honest, I think that the reporter should be willing to take everything that follows their article, whether its death or fame. If they're afraid of death, but want the fame, then they need to pass the article on to someone who is willing to risk their safety for the public. Readers need to know whats going on in the world, and its the reporter's job to deliver the news, enduring whatever it takes.

colby said...

Reporting in dangerous situations will not only be obviously dangerous but will also have its upsides. In a way, reporting in these types of situations will show how people feel about their jobs and be hailed as a hero of some sort. Journalists who continue to report on subjects which may be harmful to lives should decide on their own if they should risk the lives or write. It really just comes down to if the people love the job enough to risk their lives reporting on a subject.

Andrew said...

Being a journalist has always a dangerous job. The pro of this would be that they are informing the world of major events. These are the people people that deal with some if the most important news cases. The con is that they are dealing with some of the most dangerous cases and risk their lives and even the lives of their family. The pro's deal with a mass amount of people because they are the informants to the general public. The cons deal with the personal family.

Terilyn said...

I first became aware of journalism in middle school. I looked up to the journalism kids and real-life journalists, and even made an issue of my own newspaper, The Monkey Chronicles, using Microsoft Publisher.What I always liked about journ was the fearlessness and honesty of the profession- and it's essentially these traits that I think should, at all costs, be preserved. Savanna is right: just as firefighters and police officers risk their lives, journalists do too.

ChristianArn said...

For every action there is a reaction. In journalism, the reaction can either be a pro, or a con. By revealing the truth, journalists are able to experience the pros of their field. However, honesty isn't always the best policy, especially in journalism. The repercussions for the truth can be deadly, as described by Navarrette's article. Despite the danger, it is imperative for journalists to chase down their stories. People deserve to know the truth.

Leah said...

Journalism is not usually considered a dangerous profession. However, reporting can be extremely risky depending on the story. Reporting on dangerous stories is part of a journalist's job, so they must be prepared to take risks. It is important that people are informed of recent news, even if it puts reporters in danger.

Banpreet said...

Reporting and being a journalist is a dangerous profession. Reporting unsafe situations can risk a reporters career and life, as well put the person being reported in an unwanted position. A journalist has to watch where he reports from, either being from war zones, drug areas and gang zones as well. As a reporter, it is ones duty to get to the story and report what one sees and hears.

Chloe said...

On the pro side, good journalism is that which exposes important news regardless of controversy. On the con side, however, journalism is, and always has been, a dangerous job. This is where we sort truly impassioned journalists from the less driven ones. In any case, this is not so much a case of whether or not an article is of greater value than a life, but rather if the ideal that journalists report all important issues despite how their audiences react is.

Chris Mendoza said...

Journalism is actually a risky business because the truth sometimes hurts, and it stirs ideas which are extremely dangerous. Covering the news in a some war torn area or other violent area is actually a pro for the reader because the audience can really get insight of the situation and maybe help solve it. By exposing such hardships, sometimes even the writer is awarded for his courage or writing. However these writers are always in danger, facing death in the face like Jose Luis Romero. The journalist is aware of this and should take further precautions like security, varying work site, and the works. Another con is these murders influences the youth to not enter journalism, and if this happens, adds to the strength of cartel or similar groups. If the story is so risky and important to so many live, then the journalists should be kept alive as well.

Beilul said...

The pros in reporting in a dangerous situation: getting out the truth to the unknowing public, bringing public awareness to serious issues, the satisfaction of knowing you helped your audience make a better informed decision about their life, or themselves. The cons: you could be hurt, threatened, or killed. Hardcore journalism is a dangerous profession. But there are many other dangerous professions, as well. If we didn't have any journalists to report on such important issues such as drug trafficking, the entire population will suffer. But maybe now, journalists would have to be a bit more like detectives.

simaran said...

As journalists, it is our duty to expose the truth, even if it means risking our life and reputation. We are informing the world about news so that they can become more aware. However, this means that many times, we must risk our own lifes to investigate and discover the news. And to be a good journalist, we must expose the entire truth, even if it damages someone's reputation.

Kimmy said...

Being the journalist comes with great responsibility. This means even risking one's life to get a story done. Just like the article says, "real courage is punching in and doing your job when domestic terrorists are determined to silence you for good." Although being a journalist means contributing your own life, it can also mean doing your life and writing about what is happening in the world.

Sabrina said...

It is a journalist's duty to report the truth, no matter the consequences. The public has the right to know the ongoings of their country, rather than to be left in the shadows. Journalist are the reason for some justice in this unjust world. A police, or detective, puts his life in danger when he attempts to uncover a mystery, even at the cost of his life. This detective is not supposed to shy away from his doing when the going gets tough because it is his duty to convict the guilty. Like journalist, they use words to convict criminals even at the cost of their life, because it is their duty.

Wendy said...

I think it is worth it to risk a journalist's life in order to report the truth, as he or she is technically saving millions or billions of people around the world. For example, journalist might be killed if they are reporting a company producing toxic products. However, it is worth it to risk one's life to safe millions or billions of people from buying that particular product. Journalists' job is not just reporting the truth, but also using their pen, or even their own life, to safe the world.

Stephanie said...

The pros are having the experience and learning from that particular experience. That is the grandest benefit one can get from reporting in a dangerous situation. Cons are getting yourself into trouble, or being punished/blamed on. There is a fine line between risking your health for the benefit of others. As a reporter, this is your job and solely a job- not to risk your life. One still has to come back to your family at the end of the day.

Tracy said...

The pros of reporting on dangerous issues is that journalists have the ability to inform the public of issues that are truly important. Such large issues such as drug trafficking need to be known by those who are affected by it both directly and indirectly, meaning that the general public has the right to learn what's going on. The cons of this form of journalism is that journalists must always put their lives on the line, as every story can be attributed to someone.
Journalists should continue to report on such issues, however, because it's their job to do so. Journalism is a chosen profession, and like other jobs, it can have its risks. It is up to reporters to know what the risks are when they accept a certain story assignment, even when those risks may include losing their lives. Journalism cannot give in to the pressures of danger breathing down its neck.

alec said...

Dangerous situations are inevitable and one will find themselves partaking these troublesome journeys in any career they choose to pursue. Therefore, every career defines its hazards and dangers. Journalism is no different. For years, journalists around the world have faced danger because of their reporting, yet reporting brings about public awareness, great change, and service. There are many pros and cons, yet in order to make the media aware, it is imperative that journalist understand what they are about to get there business in.

Leigh Patrice said...

You just need to remember that being a journalist, your life is on the line.

nicholas said...

When your reporting on a dangerous topic, the good points are that you can inform the people of what's going on. The bad side is that some people don't want this story printed or don't want people to know.

Crystal said...

Being a journalist means putting ones life on the line. Journalist are required to to push and do whatever they can top get the truth. Often times ones reputation is on the line of their work. The job of a jouranlist is a heroic one. Journalist are the ones who risk everthing to show the world the truth

Joyce said...

Journalism is dangerous. Sometimes the risks seem exciting, other times- not so exciting. For example, when Filipino broadcast journalist Ces Drillon (I think thats her name) was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf. This story dominated the media when I was in the Philippines for sumemr vacation in 2008. Having a strong interest in journalism, it really made me wonder: Is journalism worth risking your life?

Drillon ended up fine. But what if she was killed? As a respected television reporter, she was just on assignment and she was held hostage for multiple weeks.

I really don't know if getting a certain story is worth dying for.

Jackie said...

A journalist's job is to report and expose the truth. And to some journalists, it is more than a job -- it as a moral obligation. Of course, journalists should not be forced to put their lives at risk for the sake of reporting. I think that Zocalo de Saltillo is great to want to protect its journalists. However -- as shown by Navarrete's article -- there are journalists who would rather fight to report on issues vital to public health and safety. As much as I would not want to advocate risking reporters' lives, I believe it is incredibly important for there to be journalists like those who would rather risk their safety than suppress the truth.

marc said...

Journalism certainly is a dangerous job, depending on what situation you are in. Doing a story on something risky can potentially bring about change within the public, or it could bring about death to those who practice 'freedom of speech.' Basically, it's a 'do-at-your-own-risk' kind of thing. I however, strongly believe in freedom with words. After all, our forefathers didn't sign a blank piece of paper for our independance. It was full of words that gave us our freedom. So if a young (or old) couragous reporter wants to do a story on something as risky as rape, murder, drugs, or smuggling, they better put their all in it. It won't be worth the risk if they don't.

Cathie said...

When people think of journalists, they imagine someone sitting in front of a computer screen, slaving away at an article.. Many don't realize how being a journalist is very risky.

Well, you risk having lower back pain, arthritis and carpel-tunnel, But that's only from office work, what about field work and reactions?

How far will a journalist go to get a story? Risk their lives? Tap someone's phone line? I don't know.

And after the amazing front-page article comes out, how will the public react? How will the targeted audience react?

Will they search for you and attempt to delete you from existence?

But, that may not happen, and the audience may worship you for your articles. It's risky.

Andrew said...

PROS: As the blog mentioned, it brings about public awareness, and while it may not change right there on the spot, it offers a starting point. It shows the dedication the journalist has for their job and their desire to let the people know what is happening in an area that is usually foreshadowed by other topics in the area. It brings about inspiration to the readers affected by the piece and is also good rep for the paper. It can also have people go back to reading journalism and not have the area be looked down upon, but as an incredible source for good information.

CONS: For starters, a journalist could very well lose their lives, no matter how "good" the cause may be. As stated above, if it all works well, it can bring good rep to the paper, but if it backfires, it can cause bad rep towards the paper. It can also cause controversy around that specific topic.

Overall, journalism is a tough job, a lot tougher than people would come to expect. It can also expose areas of the world that are always foreshadowed by other events and have people realize the truth, which is, in itself, needed in today's society. While there are risks, the end result can be fascinating and groundbreaking.

Renee said...

It is time to make a change. Journalists have the obligation to stir up public concern and create a beginning of difference. In reporting dangerous situation, journalists may generate a motivation for improvements. If journalists fulfil their job to fight for the truth, the world will be in peace and harmony.

Katherine said...

I think reporting is a dangerous job no matter what subject you are covering. Whether it's crime, celebrities, or the latest political scandal, a reporter's reputation is on the line all the time. Some journalists put themselves at risk when they are actually reporting such as dangerous zones, much like Mexico. In Mexico especially, it does not matter whether you were in the scandal or not, if you were a danger to reporting the scnadal you are then the enemy.

Breaunna said...

In my opinion, a reporter is the only one who can decide whether a story is important enough to risk his or her life for. As a reporter, I don't feel any story is worth risking my life for. Yes, an important story may arise, but if reporting on it is a matter of life and death, I will have to put my pen down and continue to live. If that means I don't get a story published and I am seen as a coward, then so be it. I value my life more than my reputation. Since I'm given the choice to write or not to write, and to live or not to live, I choose not to write and to live.

athena said...

It's true that journalists are put in dangerous situations to report the news. But sometimes they are victimized because those who interpret their writing may take it the wrong way. It is important that news for the betterment of people's lives and for society but if people aren't using this information or even reading it, then what's the point. We can't always assume that people will use the information that they encounter.

Courtney Mariano said...

Reporting in dangerous situations is definitely risky, and there are pros and cons people must consider. The reporter should think about whether he is willing to be victimized for a story before going into the world of journalism. I believe journalists should report the news no matter what the circumstances they face. It is their job to report the news to the public, and they must do the job right. Reporters should not have to sacrifice a story for their safety.

Louisa said...

A part of being a good journalist is taking the initiative and the risk and going out there. It not only shows one's professionalism but also concern for the public. Since a single reporter is going out to report on dangerous situations, they are able to report on the harm and effects of an event and people can be warned beforehand and take precautions. It could save an entire society. The con, however, is that this reporter could be in harm. If the reporter were to tell a story about a gang related incident, the reporter could be victimized by the gang in discussion. Reporters must consider the fine line between reporting on stories that bring about concern and ones that may just be too risky.

Carla said...

Journalism does have its own dangers, one being that the journalist or the reporter delivering or writing the article does risk putting his well-being in danger by covering a risque topic. People's reactions do vary, and ultimately, even if the journalist is careful to provide both sides of the argument. However, as a reporter, it is one's duty to cover these news, and provide all angles and sides, despite its sensitivity.

Michael said...

The general public deserves to know these kinds of stories. I mean, we send hundreds of thousands of troops to foreign nations for the "safety" of our people. How different is crucial information from military involvement if this news will keep the public in check? Sending one reporter to a dangerous location, in my opinion, is a tiny sacrifice for the good of the people.

Julia Maniquiz! said...

Journalism, like many other fields, can be risky - at times even dangerous. When one becomes a journalist, however, he makes a commitment to informing the public of everything. Reporting on dangerous situations may solicit negative reactions among the public, and the reporter can create unpleasant buzz around his name. Such possibilities must be welcomed by true journalists. Life is not always a bowl of cherries, and so writers - whose sole responsibility is to report on everyday happenings - must expect the unexpected and be willing to go the distance.

Rachelle said...

I think that the public needs to learn the truth even if it would hurt the public. New is the only form we can figure out what is going around the world. Some journalist risk their lives to get news in dangerous areas in parts of the world. Their risk for very important stories could save millions of people who could be effected.

Teresa-Mae said...

The advantage of reporting in dangerous situations is that a reporter is able to address the general public about issues that may have an impact on the public. The disadvantage is, of course, the danger that a reporter puts himself. Since it is their job, it should be up to a journalist to decide whether or not it is worth that he continue to report on issues vital to the public.

Stephanie said...

It is important for journalists to continue to report news crucial to the public, whether or not it is a dangerous task. While it is advantageous for the public to read stories that may affect them, it's also risky for the journalists to get information for their stories - but that's their job.
- SNy

Brittany said...

Journalists can live a dangerous life. When reporting in dangerous situations, they are putting their lives on the line. Reporters are so determined to find out the truth that they might go through great lengths to do so. For example, there was an American reporter who was in a foreign country doing investigative reporting when she was arrested for many years before finally being released. The pros of this type of reporting are getting coverage of controversial or secret topics that really affect the people and need to be exposed. Although lives are at risk, someone needs to take the initiative to report the news. However, journalists need to make good judgments on how far they should cross the line.

Indep_Elim_Y said...

Being a journalist can be one of the most dangerous jobs. Even though you expose others for the benefit of others, you also expose yourself to the public. You risk being put on someone's target list or people coming screaming at you. However, you get the satisfaction of helping others and letting others know what is happening.People can be more safe and aware because they know the story.

Giselle said...

As the article stated, sometimes the life of a journalist can be rough. Being subjected to the constant fear of being persecuted for revealing the truth is difficult to handle.

But if journalists are determined to do it, then who should stop them? Journalists are supposed to report on the facts, reveal more than what's on the surface. Why stop them from doing their job?

If they are uncertain or wouldn't want to compromise their friends or family or life, then there will always be another journalist who will take their place.

Melissa said...

Journalism is a scary and exciting job. Many journalists put themselves into situations that are harmful to themselves and others. It is exciting because you get to be right in the middle of everything, but at times it is a very dangerous job. The best kinds of journalists are the ones who get the job done without hassle and problems.

Darlena said...

A journalist's job was never supposed to be easy. When signing up for the job, one should know what's at risk and be willing to risk it. It's a journalist's duty to report accurately for the benefit of the public.

Dchia23 said...

Being a journalism is a life threating job. I think that the public needs to learn the truth under any circumstances even if it would hurt the public. News is one of the most realiable sources to find out what is going on in the world and people constantly risk their lives everday when they go fetch a story. Weather it be getting a story in a dangerous area or interviewing dangerous people. This one person is risking their life just so the public can get the news and beware of the problems going around in the world.

Haley K. said...

One must realize when entering "the world of journalism" that it is often difficult to sufficiently report news without harm or complication. First off, the cons of journalism are risking one's life, health, or safety for the benefit of one story. Additionally, if someone reads a story and finds something incorrect or offensive in the material, then the journalist is stuck in a sticky situation. The one question every journalist should ask himself is: is this really worth it? On the other hand, there are some pros which include informing the public with the news despite all odds. Also, it is important for the public to know the facts and truth going on in the world today. Basically, it is the responsibility of the reporter to judge the situation as necessary.

Donovan said...

Reporting on dangerous situations is a choice. If someone has the courage to do, then by all mean, they should do it. It is important that the world and people recieve the information of the situation at hand. However, I don't know if it is worth the risk. We have police and other officers that are trained and can perfectly get information, why can't they do it. If a journalist is going to enter a life threating situation then they need to be equipped with a weapon. It's a tough situation but a journalist can always decline.

Fiona said...

Just like medicine, journalism is a considered a risky, and even a dangerous, field of work. A journalist's job is to inform the public about the many events that are occurring in society using accurate and precise facts. Whether the article is about a positive or negative situation, every reaction is different. Reporting on dangerous situations can bring negative reactions from readers and impact the writer's image. However, since it is a journalist's job to inform the writer with facts, writers should already be prepared for the unexpected and be willing to take risks for telling the truth.

Fiona said...
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Joseph said...

Being in journalism is not necessarily a dangerous job. There are some jobs without danger and others that have danger. Reporters and the people who film are more specifically the dangerous jobs. The pros about reporting a dangerous story is that the story will be awesome. The cons are that the reporter may die or become injured.

Stefan said...

I can talk about how it's important for journalists to do whatever it takes to expose the truth, and how journalists need to do whatever it takes to do that, even if they risk their lives. While this is true, these are the ones who help the public the most, let me ask a question: Are you, personally, willing to risk your life to get a story? I think it's a personal choice on the part of the journalist to make. What if there is a safer way to get the same results on the story, what if there isn't? Think about whether you're willing to become a martyr or not.

Henry said...

A reporter is frequently in a danger zone. However, it is their job to report the truth about anything despite the danger. On the hand, the "dangerous" news sometimes is better unreported. These "news" will sometimes cause mass hysteria for the public. It is for this reason that sometimes it is not worth it for reporters to enter danger zones. For the most part, though, it is.

Myron said...

Reporting in dangerous situations is often a taboo for journalists. Some people who strive to report only the truth often would have had to face many challenges before reaching such a high-level, and often volatile form of reporting. For those who strive to be the all-around best journalist, those people should report on issues vital for public health and safety even if they put their own lives at risk. Otherwise, lesser achieving journalists should never put their life in danger, and only report as far as they are comfortable doing so.

Myron said...
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Patrick Li said...

being a journalist is hecka dangerous. Report something about gangs and they'll blow your head off. Report wrong and you'll get robbed and thrown out naked in the dumpster. Its hecka dangerous!

Giselle said...

People often refrain from having journalism as a career because of the risky factors in the field. A journalist has to be willing to undergo dangerous situations in order to get their story. However, I think one has to know weather or not risking their life is more important than getting their story

Chris Habash said...

Just like with any other profession, there are risks involved and sacrifices to make. But sometimes, and usually, it's done for the greater good. The same goes with journalism. A reporter might be sent out to report on something that involves dangerous something dangerous, but the pro is that the public is informed about an important issued, which in the long run, may be more important than a possible loss of a life, as it can save many more.

Jennifer D said...

Being a journalist, there are numerous pros and cons. The pros would be that as a reporter, you are able to experience the entire process while providing the absolute truth in the story to the public. On the other hand, one's life may be at risk when taking on such a risque project.

sarina said...

I think it's really crucial to have stories written about things like disasters and important things that happen because people need to know right away about whats happening. Eventhough releasing this type of imformation is important, many poeple might get offended or disturbed by the news. Either way, the latest news needs to be put out there as soon as possible so that people can be aware of what's going on.

Sheralynn said...

MY COMMENT DID NOT GO THROUGH so here's what I said in a nutshell: The professional journalism world is fast-paced and dangerous. Journalists who uncover their stories put themselves at risk. Someone is bound to misunderstand or disapprove of what the story exposes. A journalist gets the story no matter what it takes, and in some cases it results in death.

Charles said...

It is important to bring news to the people. As journalists, it is their purpose to get stories with or without danger. What good story is it if none were intense? Also, news businesses focus on competing with each other...that means getting better coverage of a story.

lexxa said...

Ultimately, being a reporter is dangerous; from reading the article, obviously these people get hurt because of it, and I did't know that. But to be a good reporter, you have to take that risk and get it done, and if not then you're not doing your job. You're either good or bad, and letting the world know what's going on will make the world think of you as the good guy.

Stephanie said...

The pros seem to outweight the cons of reporting in dangerous situations. Often times, journalism is about risking one life for the better of multiple lives. Those who step foot into the journalism industry are certainly aware of the dangers. Someone needs to expose truths and news in a constructive and professional way even if it is damaging to one's reputation. If you look around, everything can be turned into an article, so why not put a team of good writers together to produce a few pages of truth? Afterall, the truth only costs about $2 or less.

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