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January 16 2010

09:45

MUST-READS: “EARTHQUAKES AND JOURNALISM”

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Steve Coll, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, explains in his blog Think Tank why we need brave journalists covering disasters like the earthquake in Haiti.

The lead:

“Journalism is not a particularly esteemed profession, but its capacity to bear witness remains one of its more redeeming attributes. At moments like this in Haiti, a journalist’s function as a witness can be relatively uncomplicated, in comparison to, say, the processes of political or investigative reporting. In the field during a natural disaster of this scale, you do feel at times ghoulish and intrusive upon both the grief of survivors and in relation to the more directly useful efforts of rescuers and humanitarian relief workers. And yet all of those classes of participants in the crisis will recognize, most of the time, that journalism helpfully amplifies their own condition or potential.

The end:

“Technology, increasingly, makes us all witnesses to crises. And yet, only those journalists intrepid enough to find their way forward, independently, can focus our lenses.

The New Yorker’s piece is a must-read.

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