There isn't a lot of cheering in the newsroom. Copy editors don't usually do the wave after making deadline. Editors don't chant "we want an adverb" as the writers type their stories. The photographers don't normally douse each other with Gatorade after taking an award-winning shot.
Being a journalist is just one of those unsung jobs. There aren't a lot of journalist trading cards - "Hey, I'll trade you two George Wills for a Thomas Friedman and a Maureen Dowd" - and kids don't grow up with posters of famous journalists hanging on their walls - "Dude, is that Christiane Amanpour in Riyadh? Cool."
That's just not the way it is for my profession, which is why I found a recent announcement from the United States Post Office so interesting. The USPS has unveiled a set of stamps honoring American journalists. My profession getting its due.
Sure, the honor comes after the USPS has released stamps honoring, among other things, comic book superheroes, famous actors and Hall of Fame baseball players. But hey, recognition is recognition. The five honorees may not hang on anyone's wall, but these first-rate journalists will at least get to adorn some first-class letters.
They aren't all household names, but their stories are as interesting as the conflicts they covered. The honorees are:
Martha Gellhorn: Born in St. Louis, she was a novelist who became a celebrated war correspondent. She was married at one time to Earnest Hemingway, who dedicated his novel "For Whom The Bells Toll" to her.
The novel was about the Spanish civil war, a conflict she covered. Hemingway called her the most ambitious woman who ever lived, and her coverage of the Spanish civil war, World War II and the Vietnam War helped lay the groundwork for women in journalism.
John Hersey: Born in China to U.S. missionaries, he attended Yale University before becoming a war correspondent for Time Magazine. He covered World War II, using the experience to write the novel "A Bell for Adano," which won him a Pulitzer. He is best known for his book "Hiroshima," which detailed the effects of the United States dropping the atom bomb on the Japanese city.
George Polk: A CBS radio correspondent, he was murdered while covering the Greek civil war that broke out after World War II. His death remains a mystery and is the subject of a book. The prestigious George Polk Awards are given out each year for coverage exposing corporate and government wrongdoing.
Ruben Salazar: Born in Mexico, he was one of the first Mexican-American journalists to be a major player in the mainstream media. He wrote for the Los Angeles Times and also did TV commentary of the Chicano movement in the 1960s. He died after getting hit by a tear gas projectile while covering a Vietnam War protest in L.A.
Eric Sevareid: Known later in life for his commentaries on the "CBS Evening News," he started out as a reporter with the New York Herald Tribune and later was recruited by Edward Murrow to work for CBS Radio. He covered World War II, gaining a scoop with the announcement of the French surrender in 1940 and also covered "The Battle of Britain."
It's an impressive honor for the press, journalists getting their (postage) due.
E-mail Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Tuesdays.