Greg Swift, deputy news editor of the Express, said this about Anthony Mitchell, the British journalist who is thought to have died after the Kenya Airways plane he was on board crashed yesterday:
"He is a really old-fashioned journalist who can pin down a story with intelligence and determination."
There is a classic debate in journalism classes about whether a journalist could care about the object or sometimes the subject of his/her report and be objective enough. I think "objectivity of result" as we know it in traditional journalism is a lexicon for journalistic passivity: try to stand so far from the object or the subject of your report and consider all assertions and viewpoints as equal. So when the Ethiopian government killed scores of people during demonstrations, the concern for these traditional journalists wasn't where, in the context of the shootings, the main responsibility lied. Instead, they focused on how many lines they would give to Bereket Simon, then Information Minister, and how many to the victim families and eye witnesses. So the story they wrote went like this: "Forty six people died in Ethiopia election demonstrations which officials said was intended to overthrow the government." This narrative went on and on.
Anthony Mitchell was, in that sense, quite unorthodox. He cared about the object and the subject of his story without being sloppily acting like a post-modernist who would claim that "truth is just a social construct" and reject objectivity in total. Instead, he applied rigorous objectivity of method, objective in his gathering and interpreting of information; but went to where the facts lead him. If the facts lead that the Ethiopian government had massacred people, he would bluntly make it a headline. As a non-consequentialists, he would tell "the truth and let the chips fall". But he was, in a different way, consequentialist as he had utter belief in truth as a better guide for better consequences.
For me, he was the best foreign journalist to be stationed in Ethiopia for the last decade. Apart from his journalistic philosophy, he would also be remembered as incredibly courageous correspondent. I don't think AP reports about Ethiopia would have been the same, had he not been directly and indirectly responsible for those stories - In Ethiopia as a reporter and in Kenya, as an editor.
- EZ WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK
- Shimeles Kemal Loses Out In MoJ Shake Up
- Arrest Exposes The Shady Dealings of The Internati...
- Good Cop, Bad Cop
- NY Times reporter released
- Breaking News: Ethiopian Government Arrests New Yo...
- Counterfeit Solomon Tekalign
- American ambassador pushes for guilty confession
- Mediation breaks again after EPRDF and political p...
- Anthony Mitchell, courageous journalist
- The limits of free speech
- Counselor Kevin Sullivan gets more power in US Emb...
- Zemedkun Tekle and Internet Blockage
- ▼ May (14)