I had never heard of journalist Ben H. Bagdikian until I read his New York Times obituary online this morning.
I was struck by his commitment to the integrity of his profession.
Here are two quotes – a version of which I wonder should apply to us who are pastors–whose calling differs from that of journalist, but who are also called to bear witness to life and truth.
The worst thing that can happen to a journalist is to become a celebrity. The honest job of the journalist is to observe, to listen, to learn. The job of the celebrity is to be observed, to make sure others learn a out his or her, to be the object of attention rather than an observer.
and this admonition to his students:
Never forget that your obligation is to the people. It is not, at heart, to those who pay you, or to your editor, or to your sources, or to your friends, or to the advancement of your career. It is to the public.
Same day as I learned about Bagdikian, I came across this review of the book, That’s Why I ‘m a Journalist
In one of the essays in the book, Paul Workman sums it up:
We are witnesses. That’s what we are. That’s what I’ve always considered by most important role…Witness whatever suffering, whatever happiness takes place on the ground…