Reuters’ Editor-in-Chief’s message to staff, ‘Covering Trump the Reuters Way’, raised plenty of questions about how journalists should work with the new U.S. administration. I took on some of them for a piece this week on The Conversation
IT WAS HIGH SUMMER ON THE EDGE OF SIBERIA and suddenly there came the hardest question of a tough assignment. I had travelled to Yekaterinburg for a story about the spread of HIV. The city’s location made it a crossroads for the trade in many goods, including heroin. As a result, HIV infection rates were rising frighteningly rapidly among drug users. The trip involved encounters with sources, many of whom were distressed – some of whom who were frankly scary. But it was questions from the journalism students who were with us that really stumped me.
The questions – including the size of my salary – were largely predictable. One was not: “What do you do when the governor does not like a story you have written?”
The obvious answer from a Western reporter might have been something about the noble notion of the fourth estate speaking the truth to power. But I knew that such an answer would not work in the lawless Russia of the post-Soviet era. Journalists – especially those who uncovered incompetence or corruption among the powerful – could find themselves in serious, even mortal, danger. So I offered a reply which blended the ideal with a more realistic point
You can read the rest of the piece here