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The life of a foreign correspondent

Globe and Mail Update

The Globe's Graeme Smith talks with readers and Ben Peterson of Journalists for Human Rights ...Read the full article

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  1. Hornsworth Portswiler from Canada writes: There is a lot of machismo. I think we all face a lot of negative attitudes in our lives, though for most it isn't extreme like a journalist, the journalist's admitted desensitization could be the reason for that (though they know we are all just generic office cubical workers).

    I can't help but think it would be better if the warlords would get a Facebook account (to be fully socialized) but somehow these print journalists wouldn't support that. Looking forward (with all positive-ness) to seeing what is meant by releasing full material.
  2. Mikey Gault from The Moral Highground, Canada writes: "Journalists for Human Rights"...

    I look forward to your hard hitting stories on Cuba, Libya, China and Iran. Or are all the stories going to be about the USA and Israel?
  3. Hornsworth Portswiler from Canada writes: Mikey Gault, maybe there are not enough journalists to do a good job everywhere. The so despised citizen journalists, along with good quality shared data, could help.
  4. Robin Adams from Ottawa, Canada writes: Nicolas Kristof is a rare journalist who leaves one with the impression that he really does care. Writing for the New York Times he serves that bastion of liberalism along with other writers who have socially moderate and progressive views, like Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman. What I find funny though is that the G&M seriously thinks it has anyone on its staff on par with these folks. The only columnist here that even comes close is Rick Salutin... as for the rest they occasionally surprise me, (Wente's about face on Afghanistan was truly remarkable, it only took her 7 years to figure out that the war there really wasn't about helping little girls go to school), usually though you get served up some slop. There have been some truly appalling editorials.

    So being the naturally suspicious sort I'm wondering why you are even bothering to engage in a debate about "human rights" and the western media. Seriously you'd think that the private media organizations would be savvy enough to realize that this is the weakest card in their hand. They don't care about human rights, they care about making money. For those of us who do care about human rights you don't fool us for a second. A discussion about why reporters and reporting should be more like Nick Kristof is hardly a substitute for actual reporting on human rights abuses. Oh your having trouble finding cases to write about? Golly gee, how about the sufferring Palestinians or the recently released torture memos to name a few??

    BTW, all I got was an audio feed of your "debate" off the main page. Your visual stream didn't come through... so I stared at that pic of the US soldier in the poppy field while I listened to it. Staring at it for a while though it dawned on me that it looked like he's guarding it.
  5. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: Robin Adams from Ottawa, Canada wrote: "Writing for the New York Times he serves that bastion of liberalism along with other writers who have socially moderate and progressive views,.."

    I thought that journalists and reporters were suppose to be objective and report the truth rather than push views. Aid agencies are the ones that worry about people and help them. News reporters should report what is happening and, hopefully, tell the readers what is actually happening and not what a specific group or government wants them to report (usually called propaganda). Except for editorials, I don't want to read the reporter bias view. Bias is simply a nice word for censorship. Why should I care if the reporter is a communist or liberal as long as he tries to keep his person views out of his news reports.

    A democracy requires an independent media that will report the facts and seek out the truth.
  6. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: Hornsworth Portswiler from Canada, you need to get out more. How many computers do you think are in Afghanistan, Pakistan or the "safe zone" in Sri Lanka? How many have Arabic, Punjabi or Pidgin operating systems, especially in areas without telephones, cell phones or electricity. How many people have time to sit in front of a computer, especially while they are trying to scratch out a living and if women are not allowed to use them without permission for the man of the hovel?

    Facebook indeed!
  7. Robin Adams from Ottawa, Canada writes: Sask Resident, journalists and the media industry like to mythologize they're importance to society and pretend they are doing a huge public service. Therin lies the twist, the private media organizations are not public service providers but private businesses. The bottom line for them is the bottom line. Objectivity and professionalism is what they teach in the journalism schools, private media on the other hand concerns itself with advertising revenues and subscriptions. Sometimes they publish to inform, but they never publish to offend they're biggest financial contributors. They self-censor all the time.

    Democracy won't go away just because large media organizations do. Information is readily available from other, usually primary sources, if people want to find things out they can. That's partly why modern media is in such dire straights. People can easily do research on what they read. Fact checking is simple and a mouse click away. Since its so easy to prove that what your reading is nonsense people are no longer willing to pay for it. Quite frankly its no loss to society if they disappear. "Propaganda" is not an inappropriate term.. National Post is a perfect example.

    As for "needing" an independant media I like the model of the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC). It has a funding model that makes it public supported but independent of direct control of the government. That organization does truly provide a public service with a much higher level of objectivity and professionalism than anything you see here.
  8. Hornsworth Portswiler from Canada writes: Sask Resident, sorry you didn't get my allusion, it was a bit obscure. It was regarding the woman in the audio piece who suggested the warlords puff themselves up for the sake of the journalists. This point was totally ignored in the journalist's answer. So the journalist and the warlord are in the same continuum of reality, contrasted with Facebook (in a half-joking way, what would a warlord's friend list and wall look like? Would global 'peer pressure' work on this scale?).
  9. dagne mrth from Canada writes: The problem with reporters is they went to school to learn how to write, not what they are writing about. Then then go to work and suddenly gets this idea that just because they know how to write articles, they somehow also knows what they are talking about.

    The world could use less reporters pushing their own views and more reporters actually doing some reporting, the world could use a lot less simple minded writers pretending they know how the world works.
  10. Robin Adams from Ottawa, Canada writes: I agree with you dagne, mind you there are quite a few reporters that specialize into particular topics of interest. So they can become quite knowledgeable in that area. Problem is that they will write what the editors will publish, not reject. They have families to feed too.

    Also note one other little thing, reporters who are truly investigative, honest, objective and dedicated to fact-finding in the world's hot spots quite often wind up charged with blasphemy or shot in the head. Anna Politkovskaya coming to mind.. among others.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,443543,00.html
  11. Did you Know Canada?!? from Canada writes: Mikey Gault from The Moral Highground, Canada writes: "Journalists for Human Rights"...

    I look forward to your hard hitting stories on Cuba, Libya, China and Iran. Or are all the stories going to be about the USA and Israel?

    --Mikey, don't forget Sri Lanka. 14 journalists were killed by the Sri lankan regime in 2 years!!

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