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Welcome to the professional Web blog of Ryan Olson, online content editor and writer for the Enterprise-Record newspaper located in Chico, Calif. Here, I will post the latest updates on my professional career or comments on journalism in general.

Thanks for visiting. Take a look around, try the site feed and tell me what you think. ryan -at- rtomedia.com.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Interesting convergence

It was interesting to see two stories about the dangers of journalism cross by this week. First was the news that the Iraq war is now the deadliest conflict for journalists in 100 years. On the heels of that news came a package of stories from the Arizona Republic marking the 30th anniversary of the brutal car bombing of investigative journalist Don Bolles.

According to a May 29 article on the Editor & Publisher magazine Web site, The Freedom Forum reported 71 journalists have been killed in the Iraq theater since 2003. This tops the 69 journalists killed during World War II.

The article also cites a Committee to Protect Journalists statistic that 26 support staff have died. Reporters Without Borders noted at least 42 journalists have been kidnapped.

The following day, E&P posted a link to The Arizona Republic's special report on the slaying of Don Bolles on June 2, 1976. Reading the articles, Bolles was lured to a hotel on a false tip. A remote-controlled bomb attached to his undercarriage exploded as he was driving away.

Thankfully they found and convicted the people who committed the crimes -- apparently in retaliation for Bolles' stories. An article discusses the controversy around one suspect.

As I read through these articles, I pondered what these reporters' sacrifices meant. I still haven't reached any solid conclusions. I certainly salute their bravery and their dedication to reporting.

I certainly appreciate the reports on these reporters, especially Bolles. It was shocking to realize that such a horrific and brutal hit could happen in the United States. Reading about Bolles' life and dedication to uncovering corruption at all levels was inspiring. I was in awestruck to read that he apparently tried to write a humor column every few weeks despite the constant rejection.

I wonder if I would be able to step up and face a gauntlet of incredibly harsh conditions. I also dwell on the fact these reporters were all likely killed in violation of international law and the codes of war. Ideally, reporters should be noncombatants dedicated to make some sense of a conflict's chaotic nature.

Reading stories like Bolles' certainly make me want to keep pushing as a reporter.

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