We say good-bye to our good friend and colleague Bill Orme as executive director of CPJ with this first online issue of Dangerous Assignments, but there is no doubt that we will continue to feel his presence.
Bill brought CPJ to new heights of performance during his five years at
the helm. He more than anyone has had a vision for the organization
that has contributed immeasurably to its growth and development into
one of the most effective and respected press freedom groups in the
country and the world, and he more than anyone has been able to
articulate its goals.
The Committee to Protect Journalists was founded in 1981 by American
journalists determined to bring the strength of the American media to
the aid of their colleagues threatened by authoritarian governments and
other enemies of a free press. Bill took up that challenge in 1993,
when he was named executive director after 15 years covering Latin
America as reporter, editor, and author. He was indeed a man with a
mission -- and a keen insight into how CPJ could work to secure press
freedom and protect journalists the world over. With dynamic
leadership, unflagging dedication, and constant enthusiasm, he made a
very real impact on the status of press freedom in many ways. Bill has
been CPJ's most tireless advocate -- speaking, writing, and traveling
widely to help inform the public and the profession of the perils
facing journalists in much of the world. He has overseen CPJ's missions
in all the regions and accompanied many of them.
Bill was the driving force behind the development of CPJ's website into
a dynamic press freedom news and information center, reaching out to
journalists around the world. It was his vision that created our online
archives, press freedom search engine, and the Dangerous Assignments webzine. Under Bill's leadership, too, CPJ's annual survey, Attacks on the Press,
grew in authority. He brought five of these books to press, each more
complete, thorough, and informative than the last. So we're not really
saying good-bye to BillÑwe at CPJ will be quoting him for years to
come. We're just seeing him off to a new phase of his career, and
feeling grateful that his new post -- as a correspondent in The New York Times' Jerusalem bureau -- is one which will keep him in close contact with us.