In the summer of 2000, The New York Times published a 10-day narrative series that explored how race is lived in America. Reporters flooded cities around the country and told the stories of communities, including an integrated church in Georgia, a segregated Cuban neighborhood in Miami and a newspaper troubled by its own coverage of race in Akron, Ohio.
Webster’s New World Dictionary (Third College Edition) defines a journalist this way: “A person whose occupation is journalism; reporter, news editor, etc.” OK, then, what is journalism? The same dictionary gives this answer: “The work of gathering, writing, editing and publishing or disseminating news, as through newspapers and magazines or by radio and television.”
Several years ago – before the war on terrorism sparked concern over border security – the American and Canadian governments tried to come up with an agreement that would make things easier for people who crossed regularly from one country to the other.
When alternative rock music icon Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994, it was more than a shock to the music industry – it was a crisis for The Oregonian. Searching the newsroom for someone who’d heard of the band Nirvana, the editors realized there was only one reporter under the age of 30.
In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, New York’s Newsday began a daily, two-page feature titled “The Lost.” The section is devoted to profiles of the dead and missing victims. Early on, editors noticed the pages filled with white faces.
Like all Americans, 23-year-old Tom Gutting was shocked and horrified by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Like all journalists, he worked overtime reporting the developments in the war on terrorism. And like many of his readers in the small town of Texas City, Gutting shared feelings of fear, despair, and a fierce love of country in the days after the twin towers fell.
Bodies floated down the Ruzizi River as Eugene Cornelius made his way out of Rwanda. He left his car behind when it ran out of fuel. He gave all his money to the border guards – a bribe so they would let him out of his war-torn homeland into the safety of neighboring Burundi.
The kegs were running dry at Langan’s bar on west 47th Street – the beer delivery trucks hadn’t made it into Manhattan. Soon after the crew of reporters from the New York Post arrived at their favorite watering hole, they switched from warm draft to bottled Rolling Rock.
Emir Suljagic was not yet working as a journalist when he and his family fled their small Bosnian village for nearby Srebrenica in 1994. But that’s where he first learned about the power of the press. As the war in Bosnia made headlines in the United States, Suljagic, a Muslim, and his family sought refuge in Srebrenica, which the United Nations had declared a “safe haven” and vowed to protect from Serbian invaders.