Sunday, December 27, 2009

Memento Mori

As year-end approaches, we look back at the extraordinary number of nationally-celebrated old-guard print and broadcast journalism figures who left us in 2009.

A merely cursory search turns up the names of: William Buckley, Walter Cronkite, Don Hewitt, Studs Terkel, Paul Harvey, Irving R. Levine, Cornell Capa, Dith Pran, and the not-so-old-guard Tony Snow; and there were many others less well known.

Added to that, the trade publication Editor & Publisher -- itself in extremis -- points out that a record 68 journalists were killed in 2009, a 60% increase over the previous year. 85% of them were killed as a direct consequence of their profession.

So we are reminded that journalism can be a fickle mistress who may lavish fame and even fortune on the lucky few, but bring only an untimely, violent and unsung death to too many others.

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