One way to honor World Press Freedom Day: Imagine that world without broad access to information.

One way to honor World Press Freedom Day: Imagine that world without broad access to information.

Maybe it’s because I just came off a whirlwind week of journalism events—conferences hosted by Unity Journalists, the Society of Professional Journos, and the annual E.W. Scripps awards dinner—but there may be no better time to tout the value of a free press.

Which is why I’m happy to remind us all that today is World Press Freedom Day. As organizers describe it, “It is an opportunity to: celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

Read more about it here.

World Press Freedom Day 2016 1

This seems like a good day to point out that you should:

  • Hug a journalist.
  • Renew or subscribe to a news source you value.
  • Share with others great coverage you cherish, whether it’s about your community, your nation, or your world.
newsroom hug tumblr_inline_n81uveZnDS1r5hgbb World Press Freedom Day

Bring it in …

And don’t forget to hug a journalist.

journalist hug bbc 5710d4d1220000290025398c World Press Freedom Day

News last week that Mike Wallace had died signaled the passing of a great veteran journalist. He is best known for his success on the TV magazine show 60 Minutes (more on that in a minute).

Mike Wallace

Here in Arizona, Wallace has covered more than one story. But imagine being the person whose work brought Wallace and his team to the Grand Canyon State. Imagine making an impact so great that Wallace would trek west to tell your story to his tens of millions of viewers.

No, if you were wondering. It wasn’t me.

But it was an Arizona lawyer. In 1983, trial lawyer Richard Grand just did his job when he won a liability judgment for his client, a South Tucson police officer. Unfortunately for the small town, the $3 million judgment was about the same size as the town’s budget, according to the Town Manager. So, in an act that has grown more common in 2012 but was a first in the United States at the time, South Tucson filed for bankruptcy protection.

Bankruptcy? For a city? That was unheard of, and exactly what brought 60 Minutes calling to Richard Grand’s office.

Richard is pleased to report that the city eventually paid in full. And out of the case, he also got to be interviewed by the consummate questioner Wallace.

Here is a photo (actually, a photo of the photo) of the encounter in Grand’s office. That photo is quite a keepsake.

Mike Wallace, left, and lawyer Richard Grand

Click here to read a story I wrote about Richard Grand.

And here is some of what CBS had to say about Mike Wallace:

“Wallace played a huge role in 60 Minutes’ rise to the top of the ratings to become the number-one program of all time, with an unprecedented 23 seasons on the Nielsen annual top 10 list—five as the number-one program.

“Besides his 21 Emmy Awards, Wallace was the recipient of five DuPont-Columbia journalism and five Peabody Awards, and was the Paul White Award winner in 1991, the highest honor given by the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award grand prize and television first prize in 1996. In June of 1991, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.”

You can read the front-page obituary that the New York Times ran about Wallace here.