When I first joined NBC in 2005, I had a dream of going to Iraq and becoming a rising star. It was a formula that had made many other journalists before me leading commentators on world events including Richard Engel and Lara Logan. At that time, young journalists had flocked to the country and were reporting, writing stories, and sharing beers at the end of the day in a camaraderie that I've only seen mirrored in disaster areas and on the campaign trail. And then it got violent, and I still wanted to go, and voiced all my thoughts to a senior correspondent at NBC who was a veteran war reporter and back for Christmas from Iraq. He encouraged me, and I let his words kindle my hope for dreams of adventure and journalistic glory even more. And then he told the senior foreign news producer at Nightly News, who called me into her office and smacked down those dreams with a grim reminder of the realities of war.
I was reminded of that incident again as I reviewed the commentary from four New York Times reporters on Gadhafi's Libya. They were beaten and groped in the line of duty. And theirs are just a few of many stories in this recent revolution, and there are many more horrific ones from wars past including the devastating killing of Daniel Pearl.
It's a small reminder of how we take our right to access information for granted and the price that many in the world pay to obtain it. It's also a reminder that as the world changes and reporters become one with the conflict, the days of running into war zones or post conflict areas to tell stories is more dangerous than it ever was before, making it harder to get that information out.