The Unknown Hero

Why I Do What I Do

Heroes whose names we should know

I will admit from the start that this idea is not my own, but it resonates with me as if it is.

In 2009, I spent 6 months studying with a communications team in Africa. There,  I was challenged to think differently about reporting the events of the day: to feel their repercussions deeply, and to seek out what was not being said.

One day, as a room full of aspiring journalists from several nations throughout Africa and Europe sat riveted, our instructor delivered to us the concept of the unknown hero and his/her role in our lives as journalists.

This hero is the unsung, uncelebrated man or woman giving their lives for the service of others. He or she lives on the streets, in the villages, with dirty hands and big hearts. They are the world changers – one person at a time. History-makers, whose stories may never make a textbook or timeline.

In studying journalism at university, I have been surprised to find that the story of the unknown hero still fits into the tenants of good journalism. Surprised mainly because todays news often leaves the unknown in anonymity.

Of the 10 elements of journalism, there are three that should directly uplift the story of the unknown hero.


  • Must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
  • Must keep the news comprehensive and in proportion.
  • Its practitioners have an obligation to exercise their personal conscience.

Significance and Relevance

When a young woman travels as a midwife to Africa and spends precious years helping to deliver and save children and mothers, she is both significant and relevant. Significant to the mothers, fathers, communities and tribes. Relevant to our understanding of healthcare, needs and practice.

Comprehensive and In Proportion

Her story should be told to help us understand the workings and needs of our world and communities, as well as the inner workings of the heart. The number of infant deaths or deaths during labor in the world is proportion enough to have these stories covering our newspapers and taking up our television screens.

Using My Conscience

I can not look away from this unknown hero. She that is helping, enduring, losing, hoping. Not attempting to publish her story would wreck havoc on my soul, and is already destroying our compassion, our understanding, and our world.

Whether you are a writer, a photographer, a homemaker, a business man, a secretary, a pilgrim on this earth, or another, I ask you:

Who is diving deeply into your community, changing the world one person at a time?

Who is your local Unknown Hero?

How can you lift them up and multiply their efforts?

Will you?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s