‘Man bites dog’ is the first principle learnt at uni. Thought I could never fully picture the concept, I always imagined the breed of dog which would make man resort to such extreme behaviours. Despite its metaphoric connotation, ‘man vs dog’ has proven to be a successful broadcasting formula for decades. With time, the type of ‘dog’ mattered less.
News moves with fluidity on the axis entertainment – truth value. It becomes irrelevant that the closer to entertainment, the further we are from the truth. Whilst audiences are locked in a labyrinth of breaking news and data, most people have little time to investigate what goes on in the real world. It is not surprising that among the most googled questions are what time is it?, is it going to rain today?, how can I make money? and what is my name?. Who has the luxury to get to the bottom of things? We trust that journalists have it, and they should take the responsibility upon themselves. And they do.
(©Committee to Protect Journalists, 2019)
Without their work, I wouldn’t have known that, between 1997-2006, 378 journalists were killed doing their job. I wouldn’t have known that, in 2007, Wikileaks was already one year old, three months had passed since Anna Politovskaya was shot dead in front of her flat, a new diplomatic row started between London and Moscow (over Britain’s bid for extradition of Andrei Lugovoi, an ex-KGB agent accused of Litvinenko’s murder), that Russia suspended participation in the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces Treaty in Europe (a treaty that limits the deployment of heavy military equipment across Europe.)
I wouldn’t have remembered that the EU expanded with two more states, Romania and Bulgaria, Barack Obama was in full presidential campaign and Gordon Brown moved from 11 to 10 Downing Street. In 2007, there were a few months till the Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy, which triggered global recession. The Doomsday Clock was moved to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korean renewed nuclear ambitions and tests. The War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, in full swing.
These are facts from a distant past now. Already history. It is already history that between 2007-2016, 612 journalists were killed doing their job. Almost double than the previous decade. Already history too, last week’s sigh of relief watching Notre Dame saved by a near miracle. In the meantime, the history added a new name to statistics: Lyra McKee.
©Maria Stadnicka, 2019