Life Lesson – jschool style

It was the first week of classes. I can’t say with any degree of confidence if it was the first class – PERIOD – but it was among them. All 100-odd journalism school first year students were gathered in a lecture theatre.

We watched what I seem to remember being a presentation on an overhead projector. You know, the ones with the transparencies? Not powerpoint. Only the ‘young’ professors used powerpoint.

Our prof scoured the room and began what I call the journalism-school version of that old “look to your left, look to your right” anecdote.

She looked at us and told us journalism was a wonderful profession.

We could see the world.

We could die.

When she said those three words I remember looking back at her, slack-jawed.

We could DIE??! WHAT DID I SIGN UP FOR?

I have friends who want nothing more than to be foreign correspondents. That’s not me (though I have to giggle a little at that — because if you look at my resume, it lends itself nicely to working outside of Canada: adaptable, bilingual, experience working for the feds abroad). It’s just not something that draws me. Part of it is I don’t think I could cut it. And I don’t really have the desire to live long-term in any other country than this one. Visit? Yes. Live? Probably not.

All that’s to say the latest news out of Afghanistan – Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang was killed by an IED. She updated her blog just yesterday. It sent chills through me when I read the headline.

I didn’t know her. I don’t even remember reading any of her articles — though she was an award-winning science reporter, I’m sure I have — but I remembered her name. God knows from where. But when I read those words, a little light bulb went off.

And then my heart broke.

Rest in Pease, Michelle Lang. It sounds like you died doing what you loved.

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