Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ISIS Video Purports to Show Beheading of James Foley -

This horrible story reminds us of many things. First, extreme sadness over the death of anyone. Quickly, tho, moving to questions of what is happening to the news media, how much this is a function of the freelance world v. established media, and if so, where do we go from here? Or is it more a reflection of ISIS? Those are very tough issues.

But there is one that deserves more mention. Why do reporters do what they do in dangerous circumstances? What comes to mind for me is what I learned before embarking on a career in the newspaper and media world. As an officer candidate in the Coast Guard, I learned something that I have always felt became my purpose for being. We Coast Guards have an obligation to do one overriding thing - our duty is "go out" to try to save someone in peril; we do not have an obligation to return.

I think a great many reporters have adopted the same mandate - they have a duty to "go out" to cover these stories; they do not have an obligation to return.

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