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.