Journalism in truly tough conditions

As we discuss, deliberate and tweet our current anxieties about pixels and paywalls we’re always liable to lose sight of journalism’s genuinely tough stuff. Two vivid examples have crossed my path in the last few days.

First a beautifully written piece in Granta’s new issue by Janine di Giovanni, who covered the siege of Sarajevo for The Times fifteen years ago, on her return to the city and her bitter-sweet encounters with the people she knew in that different time under fire. (Di Giovanni is talking about her experience this evening at the LSE in London: details here. Granta has also just launched its online archive.)

The second is a Q & A with Alexei Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of the independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy. The interview is a gripoing insight into what it is like to try to preserve a fragile peace with authorities who have little time or interest in free news media. I once described the Russian government’s technique for dealing with the media as “predatory manipulation”. Venediktov tells us what dealing with predators every day feels like.

That interview is in print in Index on Censorship’s new magazine edition, web version here.

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