May 18, 1593: An arrest warrant was issued on this day in 1593 for playwright Christopher Marlowe, after fellow writer Thomas Kyd accused Marlowe of heresy.In Journalism school I often dreamed about reporting overseas, in war zones, against rogue governments. But it didn't happen.
Intense Training Prepares Journalists for War
Video of Two Reuters Journalists Killed in Iraq in 2007
Committee to Protect Journalists--Defending Journalists Worldwide
--Killed in 2010
--Killed since 1992
Do you know what else I remember? A man named Nick. He was kidnapped in 2003 and beheaded. I was working as a reporter for a station in Flagstaff, Arizona. We were a bunch of young journalists, pretending to be hardened and immune to the world. Nick's beheading was put on the Internet. We all looked it up and watched it. We claimed journalistic interest. It was important that we have knowledge of those things. That has stayed with me. Every once and a while I think of Nick. I don't remember his last name or even what he was doing overseas. I don't think he was military. But I think of his family and the horror of knowing your son died that way, of having it broadcast and knowing he was so scared before the end. And I think of the callousness with which we watched it.
Then I think of the real journalists and the journalist I later became. I know what it means to be neutral now, to report the news and to be aware of what's out there. It doesn't mean becoming a voyeur. It means keeping an intelligent interest, but maintaining perspective.
Do I wish I was a missing journalist in the Middle East? No, of course not. Do I feel guilt for the comfortable couch beneath my ass? Yes. But I have a different purpose now. I just have to figure it out.
And we have to remember those who have sacrificed so that we can write from our plush seats in our free countries.
*The man picture top right is UK journalist James Brandon, kidnapped in Basra in 2004. He was later released.
**The picture on the left is Baghdad after a bomb.