Thursday, September 30, 2010

Share your thoughts on Night and Day

Our 2010 / 2011 Season is underway with Night and Day, the inaugural play that began the company 14 seasons ago.

We've already heard that "this multifaceted drama poses questions that easily might be asked at any point in the current 24/7 news cycle" (Chicago Sun-Times) and that the "production is not only shrewdly timed but very adroit, smart and accomplished." (Chicago Tribune)

Now we wanted to give you the opportunity to share your own reviews, questions and comments about this play and production.

Consider these questions raised by the play:
• What risks and responsibilities should journalists to take today?
• How do you choose which news sources are trustworthy?
• Is "fluff" news crucial to keeping papers around or does it undermine the credibility of the "real" stories?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stoppard's Night and Day features a young journalist caught in a very dangerous and politically charged story. He puts his life at risk, perhaps unknowingly, to get his hands on the best story. Stoppard's work feels as timely as ever in the light of news from Mexico.

As reported by, on 9/17/10:

On September 16th, two newspaper photographers were killed by gunmen in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based watchdog group cited in our previous post, said in a recent report that at least 22 Mexican journalists have been killed since December 2006, due to violence by drug cartels.

As reported by on 9/20/10:

In response to the murder of their young photographers, the paper for which they worked took bold action, publishing an open letter to the drug cartels operating in their city.

"We do not want more deaths," the newspaper's letter to the cartels said Sunday. "We do not want more injuries or even more intimidation. It is impossible to exercise our role in these conditions. Tell us, then, what do you expect of us as a medium?"

However, the deaths may not have been a result of the photographers' work, but rather a personal matter. A Chihuahua state attorney's office spokesman stated, "His murder is not related to his work as a journalist."


Faced with great risk and great responsibility, this paper took bold action, directly addressing very subject of the news which they actively report. What does their appeal say about evolving roles of journalists in today's world? Do we consider the risks these reporters are taking to be crucial to good news?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Journalists on the Front Lines

Stoppard's Night and Day raises complex questions about the need for risk in pursuit of headline news. When an investigative journalist's life is in endangered, is it needless, or crucial to the system of the free press getting the truth back home?

In October, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released an updated version of its guide to reporting on war and in other situations in which journalists’ lives can be threatened. The handbook is called “On Assignment: A Guide to Reporting in Dangerous Situations,” and what follows are excerpts taken from its various sections.

From Part II: Who is at Risk?
"Even all the risks of reporting in a conflict zone comprise only a small part of the risks journalists face worldwide. In fact, for every journalist killed in crossfire, three are targeted for murder. Between 1993 and 2002, CPJ research indicates that 366 journalists have been killed while conducting their work; of that total, 60 journalists, or 16 percent, died in crossfire, while 277 journalists, or 76 percent, were murdered in reprisal for their reporting. The remaining journalists were killed on the job in other situations, such as violent street demonstrations.”

From Part IV: Reporting in Hostile Areas: Minimizing Risks
"In some particularly dangerous conflicts, journalists have hired armed guards. The practice first became widespread among television crews and reporters covering Somalia in the early 1990’s after journalists traveling without armed guards were robbed at gunpoint. Journalists who use armed guards, however, should recognize that they may be jeopardizing their status as neutral observers."

From Part IV: Reporting in Hostile Areas: Battlefield Choices

"From at least the U.S. Civil War through the first two world wars, journalists who accompanied combatants were only able to file reports through military censors."

“Journalists briefly enjoyed more autonomy during the Korean War, although it was not until the Vietnam War that many correspondents were able to file without censorship."

Read more excerpts at