Retro - One does not exclude the other

By Sarah Raparoli Switch to German for original article

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The Lëtzebuerger Journal is already celebrating its second digital birthday. We have found our place in the media landscape, evolved and are ready for 2023. None of this would be possible without the people who tell us their experiences and perspectives. To mark the occasion, each team member looks back on a story that was particularly meaningful to them this year.

Even if some still assume that we at Lëtzebuerger Journal only do feel good journalism, our texts paint a different picture. "We don't cuddle with anyone", is a statement by our editor-in-chief Melody Hansen that couldn't be more apt. You can report on what's happening around the globe either way – we have chosen a way that we are convinced will bring more to the industry as a whole in the long run. Lëtzebuerger Journal wants to stand for constructive journalism that not only reports critically and points out weaknesses in the system, but also wants to show where solutions are already being worked on and, above all, who is working to make our world a better place.

Looking back, I came across many such people in 2022. People who do not let themselves be put off and do not give up. I met some of these people on a grey April morning in a nursery near the airport. Crèche Sunflower Montessori set up informal meetings called Ukrainian Coffee Mornings shortly after the Russian war in Ukraine began on February 24. Women and their children who had to flee their homes were invited for a coffee or a piece of cake. However, these meetings were also intended to help them finally breathe again.

Eyes closed. Pushing the thoughts swirling around your head far away. Forgetting what they have experienced for a brief moment. Letting children be children. What I saw filled me with as much hope as pain, because although the laughter of the kids could be heard in the whole building and the mothers seemed grateful to be able to attend this meeting, their eyes spoke a different language. "I cry every day", Iryna, who fled to Luxembourg with her children, told me. "I saw photos of children with their parents' names and phone numbers written on their backs. In case the parents didn't survive." It wasn't just her eyes that got moist at these images.

"Some people think I'm not tough enough, that I’m prone to tears. I wouldn't fit the image of a tough journalist. But do I even have to?"

Those two hours were hard and that's what I definitely didn't want to show. These people have been through the worst anyone can go through, and then I'm standing here crying? I went to another room, turned around and looked at the pin board, covered with colourful drawings. My eyes welled up with tears. Ellen, one of the people in charge of the nursery, put her arm around me. "Don't be ashamed. Let it all out." This feeling of safety and understanding was passed on to me – and certainly to everyone else present – throughout the morning.

I admit: some people think I'm not tough enough, that I’m prone to tears. I wouldn't fit the image of a tough journalist. But do I even have to? I empathise. I try to identify with the people sitting in front of me and I am grateful that they let me share their stories. I want to show them that the person facing them has feelings. I try to offer them a safe place.

I can write an article that meets the quality criteria of our medium and show emotion at the same time. One does not exclude the other. People like Iryna – or Alyona and Marina, two other women I met that morning at the nursery – show me again and again that what we are doing is right and valuable.

© Marc Lazzarini