Veronica Guerin - Emily O'Reilly



                If you haven’t been to the Newsmuseum in Washington D.C., you should go. It’s a little expensive but it’s worth the price of admission just to look at old front pages. More relevant to the topic of this review, however, is a wall of remembrance type of a thing that lists reporters who were killed in the line of duty.


                I’m always conflicted a bit about such terms being used to describe reporters. Perhaps it’s because we have access to 24 hours news that really doesn’t seem to say anything at all. There are differences too, like reporting on corruption in Russia and being poisoned for it as opposed to reporting in a war zone. It is also interesting seeing how gender affects how people look at the danger question. When Lara Logan was attacked, many people either directly said or implied that a mother should not be herself in a dangerous situation while when a male reporter gets severely injured in a road side bombing incident, no questions his right to be there even though he is a father.


                So I am conflicted about reporters when they report from dangerous places because it is dangerous, but it isn’t quite like they are in the army. They have a little more (if not much more) choice. And we can talk about higher calling and gate keepers all we want. It’s a legitimate and true point, but who elected them to fulfill the position. I mean, do you watch some of these idiots? Why the hell do you break the news of a grandchild’s death to a woman on camera (something one local channel did years ago) and why did you stalk people?


                Still a free press is the only way to go.


                In many ways, it was refreshing to read O’Reilly’s work about Guerin’s murder. The book isn’t so much of pinning the murder on which Irish gangster did it, but on the media or the culture that that Irish Independent Media group embraced that enabled Guerin to work the way she did.             


                Honestly, bringing your son along, not good.


                What is clear is that O’Reilly, despite her disapproval of some of Guerin’s methods, also admires Guerin. She focuses on the question of safety and of digging too much. She argues that the newspaper’s response to the previous two attacks on Guerin was inadequate, to say the least. That Guerin’s style of reporting (due it seems, in part, to a lack of training) also led to her have a simplistic view on those people she was dealing with.


                Even today, many years after the event, the questions and problems that O’Reilly points to are still current and something we, as consumers of the news, deal with every damn day.