Time to listen (retro 8/12)

By Audrey Somnard Switch to French for original article

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The Journal-team looks back at 2021 - Audrey Somnard continues. The past twelve months have been exciting, challenging and enriching, and they also mark our first digital birthday. To celebrate the occasion, each team member has chosen the piece whose research or production had the biggest impact on them in 2021.

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Most journalists do this job because they are curious, but also because of the encounters and stories that come out of it. The human element is at the heart of the new Journal's project. After one year, it is obvious that this is the case, whether it is for our subjects or for the way the team works behind the scenes.

Looking back on the past year is all the more interesting because it is the very first one for the new Lëtzebuerger Journal. New formula, new website, new colleagues, new offices, new mascot (Buddy, our feelgood-manager), a year of adaptation to a new environment. But above all, it's a new way of working. We stopped chasing the news, the frenzy of press conferences, the almost daily announcements related to the Covid crisis. Not that it's not important, but the Journal has made the bold choice to stand above the fray and take a step back.

"Without testimonies, the journalist is nothing."

It's normally hard to pick one article that stands out over an entire year, as the encounters have been rich, but in my case the selection was quick. Perinatal bereavement is a subject that needs to be addressed, but it is so delicate to tackle that it takes time. And this is precisely what journalists generally lack. The luxury of being able to take the time to multiply the interviews of professionals, of associations, but above all of the people concerned. Without testimonies, the journalist is nothing. Thanks to the new format of the Journal, I was able to meet with all the people I needed to understand the subject and treat it in depth.

I will never forget my meeting with Claudia and Fabio. They opened the doors of their home to me when they had experienced the unspeakable only a month before. The loss of their little girl a week before her due date. A tragedy they told me about with remarkable courage. Both of them did not flinch and as I wrote their story in my notebook, it was impossible not to share their distress. They were willing, they wanted to tell what happened. Contrary to popular belief, most bereaved parents want to talk about their child who left far too soon. This was also the case for Maïa, who is aware that talking about Esteban brings back painful memories, but it also allows her memory to live on.

A memory that is visible through the stars of the fresco in the chapel of the CHL. So yes, the subject is sad, it is taboo, it speaks about what nobody wants to talk about: death. At the Journal we tackle difficult, complex subjects to decipher today’s society. After one year of this formula, we try to get there every day, with a great sense of pride.