Journalism suffers tragic blow in Paris

Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 9, 2015

For the first time in memory, L’OBSERVATEUR’s editorial board wished the notion that “newspapers were losing their impact” in our society were true.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and no one can attest to that more than the dozen plus people killed since Wednesday in France following fallout in the bloody attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

As this editorial is being written Friday morning, more hostage situations are developing in Paris and more deaths are being reported.

In 2011, Charlie Hebdo’s office was firebombed after it published a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad.

That was apparently too much to handle for some terrorists, and now more people are dead.

Charlie Hebdo’s impact, even to those in countries miles away, show the perils each member of a newspaper’s staff takes when accepting the responsibility that comes with employment in journalism.

The stakes are high, because a newspaper’s unquestioning thirst to uncover the truth and hold those in power accountable while also welcoming all sides to share their opinions sometimes puts its members in harm’s way.

The sad fact is, globally speaking, “sometimes” doesn’t begin to tell the story behind the grave toll taken on members in the field of journalism.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 61 journalists were killed in 2014 because they were simply doing their jobs.

That’s more than five-dozen men and women who were targeted for death just for showing up at work — often for meager pay.

It sometimes takes tragic scenes, like the ones unfolding in Paris, to shine a light on the blowback and vitriol newspaper employees often endure.

It is with a heavy heart that we at L’OBSERVATEUR look upon our fallen brothers and sisters, as well as the law enforcement officers and innocent bystanders killed and salute the fallen.

The world of journalism was tragically struck this week. However, that won’t stop men and women around the world from continuing to work in this important field.