Journalism from Egypt: Inspiring against hostile odds

 

"Demonstrators create a human roadblock in front of a police van in Berlin, Germany's Potsdamer Platz, Thursday, July 20, 2009. A rally was held to protest German police and government involvement."

A few hours ago, I wrote some thoughts about this semester’s first issue of The Quindecim, our student newspaper at Goucher College. You can read the entire post here, but here’s what I had to say about our efforts to get that paper to press:

Three straight nights of layout, tough decision making, and early-morning coffee breaks made for a pretty tough week. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I do this in the first place.

Since then, I’ve read a few reports that immediately made me rethink what I wrote. Here is why.

This week, more than 100 journalists working in Egypt were attacked, according to a Baltimore Sun article. News crews have been assaulted, detained, threatened, and intimidated by thugs and looters. In some cases, they’ve had their equipment seized.

A tough week? While we sat in our nicely decorated office under strands of jovial, colorful Christmas lights, here is what photojournalists in Egypt were looking at. While we listened to some good music as we laid out our newspaper, here is how CNN’s Anderson Cooper had to broadcast his report.

Yet despite being confronted with such disturbing attempts to stop the world from being informed, these journalists, cooped up in their tiny rooms and underground posts, are still finding ways to get their information out.

I took the above photograph on the outskirts of a somewhat violent protest I stumbled into in Berlin several years ago. I included it with this post because I still remember the rush I had trying to use pictures as information to make some sense out of an otherwise  chaotic situation.

That’s what journalists are doing in Egypt right now. It’s a humbling reminder and a heroic collective effort. Your thoughts?

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