A mighty heart

Journalists sacrifice much on the quest for truth.

by Hemang Sharma

Seeking the truth and presenting it to the public does not seem incredibly challenging to many, but a journalist’s job is dangerous and full of risks. Many journalists have been hurt in their line of duty.

In 2002, Daniel Pearl, an American journalist in Pakistan, was kidnapped and beheaded by Islamic militants. As the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, Pearl was in Karachi doing what he did best: reporting on events and making sure the truth reached his readers. That was when the Islamic militants chose to use him as a scapegoat to further their anti-U.S. agenda. They demanded the United States free Pakistani terrorists being detained at Guantanamo Bay in the aftermath of 9/11. Before the U.S. government could trace the location of Pearl’s captors, he was beheaded.

This man serves as an inspiration to many of us in the journalism community more than a decade after he was brutally murdered. He will be remembered as a man who traveled the world in pursuit of the truth, unraveling the complexities of world events.

I was only 11 years old when I heard the report of his assassination, and I still can’t comprehend the senseless act of violence against a journalist, a mere messenger, any more than I could as a kid.

More than 11 years later, the spirit of Pearl lives on. His name has inspired many journalism awards and scholarships around the world. But more than any tangible measure, the true legacy of Pearl is the undying, undaunted attitude of our journalists who continue to brave the elements, whether friendly or hostile, and risk their lives to bring us the news, even when it hurts them directly. Anderson Cooper has been in every frightening situation imaginable on this planet. He has been shot at, punched, etc. Lara Logan, a CBS reporter was raped by a mob in Egypt. These brave reporters, like Pearl, are often moments away from being consumed by an unintended consequence of their professional assignments.