Terry Gould

Inside Media: Dying for the Story

September 20, 2009

Guest: Terry Gould

By Lesette R. Heath, special programs coordinator

"I'm not interested in why man commits evil. I want to know why he does good."

That quote, from former Czech Republic president and essayist Vaclav Havel, led one investigative reporter halfway around the world to chronicle why some journalists are willing to die for the story.

In "Marked for Death: Dying for the Story in the World's Most Dangerous Places," Terry Gould looks at the lives of local journalists killed in Iraq, the Philippines, Russia, Colombia and Bangladesh.

The countries, according to Gould, were identified by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the five most murderous countries in the world in 2005. They also "happen to be the ones where whoever was doing the killing was getting away with the killing," he said.

For four years, Gould documented the lives of slain journalists Khalid W. Hassan, Guillermo Brava, Marlene Garcia-Esperat, Manik Chandra Saha, Anna Politkovskaya, Alexei Sidorov and Valery Ivanov. He interviewed coworkers, families and, in some cases, the people responsible for their deaths. What he found were striking similarities.

"These guys lived by their own rules, but they lived by justice, too," Gould said. "They were driven in a very unusual way, and they did things that would normally get them in trouble in a corporate environment. But that's why they were such exceptional people."

No stranger to putting one's life at risk, Gould was placed under six months' police protection for his exposes on Chinese organized crime. Deflecting attention away from his experiences, Gould noted that the journalists featured in the book practiced a type of "active heroism."

"You've got to ask yourself the question: Would I ever do something like that? And that's goodness, that's goodness. That was the answer I came up with," he said.

Gould signed copies of his book following the program.

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