Journalism May Be Hazardous To Your Health

People lay flowers at an apartment building entrance where journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed in Moscow, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006, with Politkovskaya's portraits in the foreground.
AP Photo
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
The ballroom was packed last night at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Reporters and producers and editors gathered to pay homage to journalists from around the world who quite literally risk their lives to tell the stories of the countries.

In America, telling the truth might raise the anger of one or another political group, but, quite honestly, the biggest obstacle to getting the story out is often the suits who prefer the sensational to the substantial.

That's not the case at Russia's Novaya Gazetta, a rare independent paper uncowed by the ruthless Putin regime. Three of its reporters have been murdered.

Zeta, a weekly magazine in Tijuana, Mexico, reports on the connection between drug runners and corrupt cops; the founder and an editor were both killed.

In China and Pakistan, and many other places, reporting can land you in prison - a risk astounding numbers of people are willing to take. Freedom of speech of the press. Here we take it for granted.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.