• 73°

Wayne Hinshaw column: A time to reflect about the importance of journalists

By Wayne Hinshaw
For the Salisbury Post

I recently read an article by Mia Tramz, writer for LightBoxPhotography, about the photographers that died during 2014. Of course, she has a long list of world known photographers to whom TIME LightBox offers a tribute.

Using her information and facts about the field of journalism, it takes your breath away while reading the data.  In a career that has become more and more dangerous, “23 journalists and aid workers” were kidnapped in Syria and “either sold or handed over to ISIS.” Sixty-six journalists were killed this year, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders. The figures go on: “Some 119 journalists were kidnapped in 2014 and over 200 journalists were jailed by governments, with China topping the list, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.”

According to Tramz, 90 percent of those kidnapped last year were local journalists, including 139 professional journalists, plus another 20 citizen-journalists who fled their homelands in fear.

Good, dependable journalism is vital for the life of our freedoms all over the world — and in Salisbury.  Newspapers continue to struggle for their financial lives as businesses. Without the financial success of the newspapers, the journalists who make their livelihood in their home communities, will disappear.  I saw a figure a couple of years ago that over 6,000 journalists’ and photojournalists’ jobs across the United States have disappeared.  That is a lot of stories and photos in local communities that will not get written or photographed. That means there are a lot of eyes and ears covering hometown news that have been closed.

Remembering the old TV series, “Lou Grant” (1977-1982), about a newspaper, there was a photographer character named Dennis “Animal” Price, played by Darly Anderson.  Animal was a grubby, uncouth, long-haired, bearded character that some critics said reflected poorly on photojournalists. Some photographers were just like him and some were totally different, but in the series, he was out covering his community, taking photos like all photojournalists.

In today’s world, with the internet and citizen reporters tossing information from every direction, not all of the information is accurate or dependable. Most of our senses are flooded with information, good and bad.  Many feel that with all these sources of information, why do we need professional journalists and photojournalists?

Now more than ever, we need professional journalists we can rely on and trust for accurate information to help us live our lives.  The professionals should be critical and have doubts and questions about the government, challenging the government at times, and looking into other issues. Without journalists keeping a focus on a story, clarifying the facts, explaining the “who, what, why and how,” nothing would make much sense in this free democracy.

Despite how despicable the media might be viewed at times, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are preserved by the efforts of journalists, photojournalists and artists, as they record history and shine bright lights, looking for information in dark places.

I would like to add one more name to the lists of departed journalists and photojournalists in 2014. Salisbury lost James P. Barringer, a long-time, Salisbury Post photographer and wildlife writer. He was a friend and colleague who was dedicated to serving this community.



Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations


Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop


Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute


Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?


Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline


Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget


Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle


CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science


Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies


With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions


Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration


Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline


Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance


Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list


Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May


Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards


Cheerleading team competes at Disney


Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team


Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest


‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer


Public Records: March Deeds


Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31