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SPJ Calls on Members to Honor Pearl, Others Who Have Lost Their Lives


Al Cross, SPJ President, 502/875-5136 ext. 14 or across@mis.net
Robert Leger, SPJ President-Elect, 417/836-1113 or rleger@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS - The Society of Professional Journalists is calling on its members and others to find ways to honor the life and service of Daniel Pearl and other murdered journalists, including public ways that serve as a reminder of the essential role that journalists play in America and around the world.

“Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder have caused grief and outrage not just among journalists, but among our readers, listeners and viewers,” said SPJ President Al Cross, political reporter and columnist for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. “His life and death should remind them of the risks and sacrifices that journalists take in order to fulfill the promise of American democracy and advance global understanding.”

One example of a meaningful, evocative tribute to Pearl and other murdered journalists has been suggested by the student SPJ chapter at Pacific Lutheran University.

“Our students were so shaken by Pearl's murder they wanted to do something to show solidarity,” said Joanne Lisosky, a journalism professor at the Tacoma, Wash., school. “They plan to wear off-white or pearl-colored ribbons attached with pearl-headed pins on campus this week. When asked why they are wearing these ribbons, they plan to respond, ‘For Daniel Pearl. Not only soldiers are dying for our freedoms.’ We invite other journalists and supporters to do the same in memory of Daniel Pearl.”

Cross said such deeds add meaning to the words that he and others have found inadequate in expressing their grief and outrage about Pearl’s murder. Such deeds should be performed in memory of all murdered journalists, 37 of whom died last year.

“Danny Pearl’s death attracted more attention than other recent killings of journalists covering the war on terrorism because he was kidnapped after having done much outstanding work for The Wall Street Journal and because of the plight of his wife, Mariane, who is expecting their first child,” Cross said. “Let us not forget the others who have died in this unique public service we call journalism.”

Cross and SPJ President-Elect Robert Leger, editorial page editor at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, also encouraged donations to the Wall Street Journal’s fund for Pearl’s widow and soon-to-be born child. Donations can be sent to the Danny Pearl Family Foundation, c/o The Wall Street Journal, P.O. Box 300, Princeton, NJ 08543.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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