St Bride's: News - Review of Journalists' Commemorative Service "In the Eye of the Storm"

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St Bride's: News

Review of Journalists' Commemorative Service "In the Eye of the Storm"

Review of Journalists' Commemorative Service

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall being show to her seat by Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce. Photo: Ian Bozic

This week I was honoured to be at St Bride's for their annual journalists' service, where those who put themselves at risk to keep us informed are rightly remembered.

The theme this year was 'In the Eye of the Storm'. It's important to pay respect to those on the frontline who have died - like Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta last month - and those currently in captivity.

Alongside the wide range of journalists in attendance was HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of the Guild of St Bride's. I was honoured to meet Her Royal Highness following the service and explain the benefits of receiving the Guild's generous bursary.

The financial assistance from the bursary has allowed me to study at City, University of London this year, but listening to experienced journalists at occasions like this service will prove far more valuable as I begin a career in journalism.

As a student, I almost felt out of place as I sat down for the service. As well as being in the presence of royalty, speakers included renowned journalists like Daily Mirror editor Peter Willis, Caroline Wyatt of the BBC, and the Financial Time's Scheherazade Daneshkhu.

These were people from all corners of journalism, different religions (or no religion at all), and various stages of life. During this service, though, there was simply a church full of journalists.

I can't write about the service without mentioning the St Bride's choir, and especially their moving version of 'He Ain't Heavy'. A perfect song for the occasion.

A particular highlight was the thought-provoking address by Sam Kiley, Foreign Affairs editor at Sky News. The address covered anecdotes from dangerous and remote locations, and finished with a passionate appeal for the defence of true democracy.

Sam's powerful speech argued that we are lucky to have the freedoms we do in the UK, contrary to what some publications may suggest.

The more events I attend since beginning my studies, the more I hear how noble the profession is and how important the role of the journalist is to society. Sam Kiley touched on this, saying clichés like 'shining a light into the dark' or 'giving a voice to the voiceless' are a wonderful mantra to work by, but in practice are maybe a little self-indulgent.

However, after taking the time to remember those who we have lost and those putting their lives at risk to expose wrongdoing, there is definitely substance behind the clichés.

A journalist truly can expose corruption, tell the story of someone who has no means of doing so, and further the cause of inflicted or marginalised groups. In order to do so, that may mean journalists putting themselves in danger.

That deserves respect and remembrance.

St Bride's Annual Journalists' Service was a moving occasion to pay such respects. As I continue my studies and begin my career, I will make sure to remember those who can't tell their stories and those who put themselves in the eye of the storm to bring us the truth.

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