Reporters Without Borders noted 71 journalists were killed in 2013, 826 were arrested and 2160 were threatened or physically attacked.
Journalists are watch dogs for society and the first scribes to record history. For this they sometimes pay with their lives. Their courage and faith in the belief that what they write makes a difference in the world defines them as true heroes. Just as police or fire fighters are first responders, so are journalists. They are often not given the respect they deserve for rooting out evil; Even if it's government corruption, crimes against humanity, terrorism and so on.
Most dangerous of all journalist jobs is the war correspondent. I think Marie Colvin who was a foreign correspondent with the Sunday Times said it well while speaking at a memorial for journlaists killed while covering conflicts in the 21st century.
"We go to remote war zones to report what is happening. The public
have a right to know what our government, and our armed forces, are doing
in our name. Our mission is to speak the truth to power. We send home that
first rough draft of history. We can and do make a difference in exposing the
horrors of war and especially the atrocities that befall civilians."
Colvin lost her eye from a rocket propelled grenade in Sri Lanka and a year later was killed in Syria. Her determination and courage are common attributes
of journalists who dare to report in war regions.
Female journalists also face sexual threats, such as Lara Logan's experience in Cairo during the Tahrir Square celebration of Mr. Mubarak's step down from power. She was torn away from her body guard and film crew and brutally assaulted and raped for twenty five minutes at the hands of hundreds of men.
Logan said, "The physical wounds heal. You don't carry around the evidence the way you would if you had lost your leg or your arm in Afghanistan."
While I was a student at University I traveled to the war regions of Croatia to report on the women and children refugees. We drove the only road open to the front lines where earlier in the day Serb militia had car jacked a team of journalists and raped the female reporter. I believe the incidence of violence against women in the media is under reported.
I had every intention of continuing my career as a journalist, but after my husband was killed in a car accident while my daugher's were babies, I made a personal commitment to stay home and raise them. Though my children are grown now, during all those years I never lost my love of journalism.
Colvin and Logan are role models for my fictional character Whit McKenna. I hope you enjoy reading the Whit McKenna Series as much as I'm enjoying writing them.