The Dangers in the Job: Professional Journalism in Conflict Areas Essay

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Since 1992, the beginning of the many conflicts in Syria, at least 54 reporters have lost their lives, as recently stated by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In just this year alone, a total of 21 have been killed. However, there is some discrepancy in the exact number of deaths collected by different associations. Reporters Without Borders (RWB) puts the figures more around 120, just in the past 3 years. This is because of the ambiguous characterization of a journalist.

Some of the news from Syria is being gathered by citizen journalists, or amateurs. The threat of abduction or even death is discouraging international reporters from entering the country, leaving the work to the local Syrians. So whether it was 54 or 120 "journalists", all depends on what really constitutes a journalist.

Professional journalists are definitely unlike your average person. They are trained to report all sides of an issue without favoritism or bias. Serving the people and no one else is what they're qualified to do. Experienced journalists carry the responsibility to tell the truth about what is happening in the world.

New technology, such as social media, along with the classic cellular device, has made citizen journalism more available to people all around the world. Due to the accessibility of these tools, the general public can often report breaking news more quickly than traditional media reporters.

Unfortunately, even experienced reporters can't always be there at the crucial time when something unexpected happens. That's when citizen journalists come into play. Ordinary people can help alert the media to spontaneous events, along with providing information and visual documentation. Social media assists in thi...

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...l provided by citizens, has to be cautious as to not accidentally endorse and promote propaganda.

Before anything written by professional journalists can go to print or broadcast, an entire staff of editors have to check and revise it for accuracy, grammar, clarity, consistency, and readability. Thus, good journalists, such as those working for The New York Times, are able to earn the trust of their colleagues, superiors, and especially their publics. They've earned the right to investigate, and report the facts to the world.

But in the grand scheme of things, maybe we shouldn't be trying to figure out who exactly is a journalist and resist the temptation to restrict our definition of journalism. Everyone should just accept that there is some bad journalism out there, but also acknowledge that there are many different ways to effectively report the news.

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