"Living to be tough is not being tough.

"Human life is not about being tough – it is about being kind and being good.

"Those who live to be tough should wake up to the fact that they are troublemakers and that troublemakers are not a welcome breed.

"They should also awaken to living just once and how much time they are wasting on thinking tough. That doesn't sound much like being tough at all."

often in gutter press policies. That can make it much harder for the general public to begin to fully appreciate the implications of the conspiratorial murder of a journalist.

I was imprisoned for several years for once attempting to publish something someone in high places didn't want published. I was a young greenhorn at the time, too naive to cover my tracks and, more importantly, to safeguard myself.

I was up against a well-oiled machine powered by the dogma of status quo. Was it worth it? Yes. To compromise your own ethics can sometimes be far worse.

The journalist is often the most seen yet less recognised professional working within the reach of danger.

It fell to me at the time as reporter to write the front page story that appeared on the bulk of the newspaper’s regional editions across London and the eastern counties.

The report was purely factual, gathered from police, military and medical sources and eye witnesses. The IRA had already claimed responsibility, according to official sources.

Right beneath the banner headline was my name. I often wondered what editorial discussion may have led to the decision to use such a headline.

For several days I nervously glanced across the road from the fifth-floor newsroom window to the multi-storey car park just yards
away, wondering if a mortar might be fired in retaliation while life in the newsroom just went on as usual.

Over the years, dozens of journalists have been killed at their work, many for being where and who they were at the time, while others have been assassinated for political or for other equally sinister motives.

Reputable journalists do not lie. They might make mistakes, but they do not lie. Fear of exposure, fear of loss, can


by Keith Harris

That was the two-inch banner headline splashed across the front page of the local newspaper after a bomb exploded at Colchester army barracks in the UK in the late 1980s. If you are or aspire to be a journalist, then this report concerns you.

lead people into desperate and dangerous action that rebounds on others. Every day dozens of reports stream from differently troubled parts of the world, sent by journalists who are recording what is going on. Such people's lives are in constant danger.

The journalist is a public emissary for people in being at places that those people are not or cannot be.

Those who would wish to silence journalists seek to prevent them imparting knowledge and facts to the people. That makes those wishing to silence journalists enemies of the common good. These are hard, reasoned conclusions.

Journalists can also be a publicly misunderstood lot, with much of the blame

Irish Independent journalist Veronica Guerin paid the ultimate price when she was murdered in Dublin while working on a criminal investigation. Journalists are murdered throughout the world with distressing regularity.

There are other, unplanned dangers, physical and psychological. In short, there are the stories behind the compilation of the news.

These are the stories that don’t get told. Like how the writer felt about being caught up in and with the circumstances of the story.

Like how they assimilate and live with such stories of their own and of those around them, be it in the newsroom or in the field.

Like how such events might have changed their own lives, and how they look back upon those circumstances and changes.


These are real stories of the real world, of being caught up in and part of the news itself.

They are stories that should be told because journalists are people too. And told they will be, but not only for that.

Others can benefit by their experience, including those who might aspire to the ranks of journalism. And, let’s be honest now – everyone likes a good story.

For more detailed information send an email to seeds with the word 'more info' as subject.