The arrest in Russia of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has shaken journalists worldwide—hitting especially close to home for one in particular. Writing for the Guardian, former Washington Post media columnist and New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan describes the "personally painful" reaction she had to finding out that the detained journalist making headlines was Gershkovich, her former editorial assistant at the Times, whom she describes as "thoughtful beyond his years and idealistic about journalistic ethics." Sullivan details Gershkovich's cheerful ambition, which helped him ascend from her assistant to a different position at the Times, then on to the Journal. She also notes the deep bond she forged during her working relationship with the 31-year-old Gershkovich, whom she writes "is slightly younger than my son, and slightly older than my daughter."
Sullivan spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists' Gulnoza Said, who expressed that she's "extremely concerned" about the plight of Gershkovich, a US citizen who's accredited to work as a reporter in Russia. Said notes that legal proceedings in Russia are often "done in secret, behind closed doors," and she predicts that if his case goes to trial and he's convicted, "he's going to be locked up for a long time.” She advises Sullivan and other members of the media in Gershkovich's circle "to 'put a human face' on what has happened," per Sullivan, who adds, "Let's do just that. The idealistic, hardworking, and professional young journalist I know and admire deserves nothing less." Her essay in full here, including comments from more of Gershkovich's former colleagues at the Times. (Read more Russia stories.)