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Grand Central Station is big, it’s glamorous, artistic, clean, and a city attraction for tourists and locals alike, but it’s not a structure that Robert Moses built. That’s because Grand Central is a train station. It’s an important place for public transportation in New York, offering commuters rides to and from the city to Northern New York and Connecticut, hourly, and affordable ticket costs.
This Thanksgiving, I was among the 150,000 people taking a train from Grand Central. I took a cab from Chinatown to 42nd street, counting on every second to help me get to my 1:48 p.m train on time. I boarded the train, sat down, a minute later the doors closed and the train departed the track. I made it, to my surprise and relief, but an article featured on Octobers New York Times makes makes me wonder if I got “lucky” or if I was I actually on time?
The article, entitled, “The Secret New York Minute, Trains Late by Design,”describes the organization of train scheduling as a culture of “down-to-the-second accuracy,” so passengers running late might be surprised to learn that trains might not actually leave when they’re supposed to. Call it a minute of grace if you want, but trains departing from Grand Central are rumored to leave a minute behind schedule time.
As quoted in the October article, Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for the Metro-North Railroad said, “If everyone knows they get an extra minute, they’re going to lollygag.”
(Story is incomplete. Can we speak after class, please?)
On Tuesday, November 25, The Committee to Protect Journalists hosted its 2009 International Press Freedom Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Four leading journalists were presented awards during the ceremony that according to the CPJ website, highlighted “impunity in journalist murders, this week’s killings of Philippine journalists, and the Internet’s emerging role in press freedom.”
The CPJ got its start in 1992 by a small group of U.S. foreign correspondents in response to the often cruel punishment given to their fellow colleagues by enemies opposed to independent journalism. While most assume that journalists are predominately hurt or killed in war torn regions, the majority of journalists killed in the last decade didn’t die in cross fire.
They were murdered, often as punishment for their reporting. According to CPJ research, over 500 journalists have been murdered in direct relation to their work since 1992, making murder the ultimate form of censorship and leading cause of work-related deaths. This year, 33 journalists have been killed so far, 760 have been killed since 1992—and 482 of them were murdered. Increasingly, it is online journalists that are being targeted.
Naziha Réjiba, Editor of Kalima, an online news website banned in her home country, was honored Tuesday evening for her courage. Four other leading journalists were recognized as well.
Among them was Maziar Bahari, Newsweek’s Iran correspondent, who spoke about the importance of CPJ and international support in general.
The CPJ has a full-time staff at its New York offices so any journalist reporting under dangerous conditions can depend on the CPJ in case of an emergency.
The CPJ uses its local and foreign contacts to intervene in certain situations and Bahari said that he and his colleagues appreciate the CPJ for letting them be “recognized as journalists, not heroes or victims.” When traveling on assignment, many correspondents often turn to the CPJ for insight into various press conditions around the world.
Anthony Lewis, a founding board member of CPJ, who received the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement during the ceremony, said “I believe in journalism,” when asked his reason for doing his job. Lewis also spoke about his commitment to CPJ, an organization that he’s been working with since it’s founding in 1981.
Today, the CPJ still remains to be funded solely by the donations of individuals, corporations, and foundations. On Tuesday night, more than 800 people attended the CPJ benefit dinner, which raised over $1.3 million in proceeds.
The last honoree was Jiang Weiping. Initially, Weiping was awarded back in 2001 but couldn’t be there accept because he was in prison in China at the time. Now free from prison and living in Toronto, Jiang happily accepted his award and closed the ceremony with, “The pen in my hand has not been broken.”
Last month, an award was handed over for CPJ’s role in advancing human rights worldwide. CPJ was honored as “the group that has made a significant effort to advance the cause of international justice and global human rights.” And as long as there are journalists challenging the establishment, CPJ will continue to bring their stories to light and advocate for the rights of journalists.
Paola Nuñez Solorio, a photo student, instinctively grabbed her camera when she saw a man bleeding from his neck and hands staggering through the subway car with a menacing man lurking behind him.