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Hong Kong Deadline, Jack Spackman, Journalism, Observations, Opinion

Tim Page keeps the faith

While some journalists defend the indefensible, others are out there reporting on it and too often losing their lives in the process.

From LA comes timely news of an important film project about Vietnam War photojournalist Tim Page and his ongoing quest to find out what happened to his fellow journalists in Cambodia in the early 1970s.

You can read more about the planned documentary Lost Brothers here and hopefully feel moved to contribute to it, a worthy cause if ever there was one.

I grew up in Hong Kong during the Vietnam War. Both my parents were journalists and the people who rolled through our flat were some of the greatest correspondents and photojournalists of that era.

Even though I never met him, I heard the name Tim Page many times when I was growing up.

He was the man who went to war on a motorbike, who risked his life and lost his friends and took searing pictures that burn alongside those other iconic images on the wall of my memory.

The last time I saw Old Bax, my father, in California we got to talking about Vietnam and he asked me if I’d read Dispatches by Michael Herr, to him the definitive book on the subject.

To his horror I hadn’t. He rummaged around his crammed bookshelves until he found his copy and all the while he talked about Tim Page, a man he’d never met.

If I hadn’t read Dispatches, said Old Bax, I couldn’t claim to know anything about Page.

I read it over the rest of my stay. Dad’s copy was old and beat up and contained a number of yellowed cuttings, obituaries and news reports of people he knew who were mentioned in Dispatches.

It cemented Page’s status that Old Bax should name him above the friends he’d lost to that war, friends who included Larry Burrows and John Cantwell.

Old Bax is gone and his copy of Dispatches hasn’t made it from California to my bookshelf but he’d have been pleased to know that Tim Page keeps the faith.

Page is keeping a promise he and his fellow journalists made to each other all those years ago, that no one would be left behind.

He’s been back to Cambodia dozens of times since the borders opened up in 1989 and each time he learns a little more about the fates of the journalists who disappeared there.

April and May 1970 were particularly devastating months for the media in Cambodia. Journalists disappeared daily. On the last day of May alone, nine CBS and NBC journalists went out and didn’t come back.

Mythic Films wants to travel with Page and document his search and they need donations.

Time’s running out, as living memory fades and attention turns to other wars and more recent losses.

I want to see this film made and if you do too click here and make a donation. It’s the least we can do.

UPDATE: Although this project met its initial target, it’s now been cancelled and donations refunded. I hope this isn’t the end of the story and wish Tim and his supporters the very best in their efforts to continue his search. – Sally

© Sally Baxter 2012
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About Sally Baxter

Once I was a girl reporter. Now I'm an interested observer covering the past, present and future of journalism and whatever else takes my fancy. All views my own.

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