The Role of a Journalist

The Role of a Journalist

Posted on August 19 by John Scully
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

Ever faced a firing squad? Been stranded in the Sahara Desert? Bribed your way into a secret Russian atomic submarine base? I have in my career as a journalist that has taken me to nearly 80 countries and 36 war zones. Journalists are people who rush into places while everyone else is rushing out. Our job is to take you somewhere you haven’t been, show you something you haven’t seen, tell you something you don’t know. Even if that means risking your life or, on some cases, your sanity like the time I had to report on a Shriners’ Parade in Toronto, watching thousands of grown men (I didn’t see many women) in silly hats driving through the city in toy cars. Charity was their excuse.

But back to that firing squad. I and four of my colleagues had been arrested for attempting to film dead bodies  during the vicious civil war in El Salvador. No witnesses wanted. So the army lined us up against a wall and took aim. “So this is death”, I thought. Just then a commander arrived. He took one look at us and then scoured the files of research material we had with us. He thumbed through a magazine which carried a particularly damming story about army death squads. But he missed it. Instead, he gazed longingly at bikini-clad model advertising Miami, then slapped the magazine shut and yelled at us: “Get out of here! And don’t ever come back!” We did and we didn’t.

John Scully

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
John Scully photo

John Scully

Journalist John Scully has covered stories in over 70 countries and 35 war zones. He has suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder for much of that time. Scully is the author of Am I Dead Yet: A Journalist's Perspective on Terror. He lives in Toronto.