Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times wrote earlier this month about the importance of journalists being there when news happens. Risk-averse, cost-focused news organizations had begun their retreat from the world long ago, Keller wrote, lamenting that the truly committed foreign correspondent was something of an endangered species.
Sadly, in many areas, this issue goes far beyond a diminished corps of foreign correspondents.
The truly committed journalist, who is prepared to make personal sacrifices to tell the story despite economic, social and political obstacles, is in some societies also under threat. And how many publishers are still hiring and training and deploying journalists who are able to make their own calls on how close they get to risky situations?
So when exceptions arise, they are worth making a fuss about. Two Africans who understand the need to be there were in Zambia this week to share their newspaper experiences with participants on WAN-IFRA’s Women in News programme.