Finding courage for the frontline

Soldiers on the frontline use guns – lots of them to stay in the fight in the fight.

On the other hand, journalists operate with an amazing arsenal of information sources to be relevant in a society that is always hungry for information.

They depend on these sources for raw information on a daily basis.

Day in, day out, ideas for stories can come from personal contacts that take years and decades to build.

And because they work hard to make these connections, journalists are often reluctant to share them.

Information can also come from sources that journalists would keep confidential and would never reveal.

Journalists protect and respect these sources because in their world information is not a luxury but a necessity.

You will also be invited to events or receive notifications.

Good journalists look for fine details in an everyday yarn and create amazing angles that people don’t think about.

They make people change the way they think.

Journalists also use social media, website posts, advertisements, communications, and a variety of other sources to obtain information that would help them discover stories and empower public opinion.

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Regardless of the source of a story, journalists cannot avoid traveling and meeting people.

The job is such that everyone has to teleport to different worlds during the day.

A journalist can be at the scene of a traffic accident in the morning, at a press conference at noon, on an army surveillance flight to a nearby island in the afternoon, and in the evening dining with dignitaries in a posh hotel restaurant.

It’s all part of the job.

You’ll meet an amazing array of people and personalities – from royals, business moguls and presidents to celebrities, sports icons and university professors.

But because of the nature of their job of providing a platform for ordinary citizens to express their concerns, journalists engage with ordinary people the most.

They speak to the poor, shop assistants, residents of informal settlements, street beggars, people affected by drought, vulnerable youth and those who do not have access to public services.

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A simple story can be read in a matter of seconds without people realizing the immense amount of work that went into making it come to life behind the scenes.

A front-page headline often seems like a collection of words to the eye, but the story can involve wading rivers, crossing stormy seas, climbing treacherous mountains, walking gravel roads for hours, and even horseback riding.

Bringing an article out to the public takes more than passion.

It takes courage, perseverance and diligence.

When we think of that kind of bravery, we are tempted to think of journalists as a group of superhumans on the frontlines, running around with their gadgets while bullets fly over their heads, interviewing families devastated by natural disasters, or crossing raging rivers to win talk to a flood survivor.

But courage transcends scenes of death and injury, and if anything, journalists are only human.

They bleed, dream, get tired and like to have fun.

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But in their bouts of human vulnerability and moments of menace and impending danger, journalists never fail to meet their highest calling and that is to be an integral part of a pillar that holds society together without which governments fail, communities fall and people perish.

The things that inspire journalists are as varied as the number of topics they cover each day.

But they are united in their pursuit of the truth and their responsibility to others.

Journalists don’t want much.

They are used to not being acknowledged and thanked enough.

They are attacked, attacked, verbally and physically abused, publicly criticized and insulted.

Some die while working.

But someone has to do the work.

Someone has to bring news home and out into the world.

Next time you meet a journalist, say “bula!”

Provide them with information, don’t ridicule them.

Don’t be rude, be nice.

Thank you.

Treat them like real people because they are.

That’s all they’ll ever want!

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