Column: The Courage of a Journalist

Perspectives from a Positively Stressed Senior
I have always been a good writer. Alongside history, English proved to be my best subject. I enjoyed writing, whether it was an assignment for school or a piece for my own personal pleasure. It was not until I joined a journalism class that I began to love writing.

Being in journalism, especially being an editor is not easy. You have to cover the hard stories, edit numerous articles, create layouts for your page, on top of writing your own column, running meetings and staying up for all hours of the night to make sure everything looks just right. Although this can be tiring at times, I would not trade this for the world.

One of the many characteristics journalism has helped teach me, is courage. Robert White Flick, who was a journalist and newsman showed the ultimate courage in the name of journalism.

In 1978, “Bob” Flick embarked on a journey that would change his career forever. He and a group of journalists, accompanied U.S. representative Leo Ryan to investigate allegations that Jim Jones(a cult leader) had been abusing his followers. The visit became increasingly tense as Jones denied these allegations, and a group of Jonestown residents tried to escape with Ryan and go back to the U.S.

Things then took a turn for the worst.

On Nov. 18, 1978 the group met on the airfield, when a few of Jones’ followers opened fire from a flatbed truck. Flick and his colleagues did not stop filming.

Flick saw many people, including Ryan and three colleagues, murdered. Robert Flick proceeded to check on the wounded and get those he could, to safety. Flick was then able to get away and hide in a jungle until he was rescued that next day.

Flick would soon find out that more than 900 Americans were killed in a mass suicide of Jones’ followers.

This horrendous event had a huge impact on Flick. He was made to testify in a federal case against a man who was connected to the massacre.

The tragedy that Flick experienced did not stop him from pursuing the thing he loved, being a journalist. He showed the courage to continue on.

Being a journalist is a rare experience. The people you work with become like family  because of the countless hours you spend together. Every important life event brings up the thought of, “Hey, I could write about this.” Every time you see your work published, your faces lights up with pride. Most importantly, every piece of work you publish contains a little piece of your heart and soul.

Through being a journalist, I have gained courage. The courage to speak my mind, even if it offends some people. The courage to be myself, in a world where that is not so easy. Above all, it has given me the courage to be accepting of everyone around me, even if others are not.

In memory of Robert White Flick

Sept. 5 1931- Dec. 31 2015

2 Replies to “Column: The Courage of a Journalist”

  1. Bob would be honor that he has left this worlld knowing others also will be dedicate to do their best in journalism.


  2. I am pleased that my uncle’s story touched and inspired you. Thank you for honoring this wonderful man.


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