Impartiality is a crucial tenet of good journalism and a core value of our company. Reliance on objective, impartial data, such as through our FDI databases, which form the basis of our benchmarking rankings, is one major way that we uphold that value.
But journalists and editors are still people, and people have emotions as well as personal preferences. In my role at fDi I am fortunate to travel extensively, and to all regions of the world. Nearly every place has something of interest editorially, if one looks hard enough, and thus a value in visiting. But I cannot pretend to feel the same about every place; that would be impossible. While many places elicit editorial or professional interest on my part, and many prove to be fun or exciting for whatever reason, only a few bring out what I would consider an emotional reaction. Only a few tug at my heartstrings, or stir something in me that is more soulful, more personal.
One country in particular had that effect on me right from my first visit in 2009: Ukraine. I like the wry humour of the people, the hearty Slavic food, the knee-slapping folk music and, if I’m honest, the wild unpredictability of the place. As recently as mid-November I was there on a purely personal weekend visit. A very short time later, all hell broke loose. I had been speaking at a conference in Crimea not long before, in October.
So it has been with a special kind of interest – a mixture of anxiety, fascination and concern – that I have watched recent events in Ukraine unfold. Though few things are surprising when it comes to Ukraine, I certainly did not anticipate what has transpired. Politically there are many different angles through which to view the situation – and those are for me as an individual to consider and as a journalist to balance. In terms of FDI, the implications are huge, and interesting to examine. Examine we will, but given the bimonthly nature of our publication and the fluidity of the situation, we will wait a slight bit longer, to see the lay of the land after May elections, before assessing.
In the meantime, as an observer I am glued to news from the country, as an FDI commentator I cannot help but size up the ramifications on investment flows, and as a person with a heart and soul that operate – like all of them do – a bit of their own accord, I cannot help but care. But emotional ties are rarely straightforward, just like politics, and here too personal experiences colour perceptions. Because if there is another country where I have had some of the greatest fun as a human being and enjoyed enormously in a social capacity, that is Russia.
Being a journalist is complicated, being a person even more so.
Courtney Fingar is the editor-in-chief of fDi Magazine. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org