THE death of Albert Dryden last Saturday at the age of 78, just over 27 years after he murdered planning officer Harry Collinson and injured two others – a police officer and a TV reporter – brought up a lot of memories for those who were there that day, and those who were back in the newsroom.

The Northern Echo broke the news of Dryden’s death, and as other outlets started to catch up, infamous clips of the day reappeared, including a piece with Tony Belmont, the reporter who was shot in the arm.

The interview got me thinking about the kind of risks journalists routinely face every day.

So far in 2018, 42 reporters have been killed around the world.

Aside from the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland in June, which killed five members of staff, most deaths have occurred in the Middle East and South America.

Nine journalists were killed in just one incident in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber deliberately targeted members of the press covering an earlier attack.

I did a straw poll of The Northern Echo newsroom to see what, if any, threats and violence the journalists here had faced throughout their careers.

The stories ranged from being told to “eff off” (standard) to some truly frightening situations.

One reporter told how in a previous job, a family member unhappy with her coverage of an inquest turned up at the newspaper office and tried to attack her as she walked down the stairs with a tray full of tea mugs.

It took three other members of staff to physically restrain the woman.

Another told how he had been chased by a cage fighter and once had to run a red light to escape from a potentially violent incident.

One senior member of editorial recounted having to flee from a court defendant threatening her and a photographer with a claw hammer (he was arrested but the pictures were great, she said).

At the less serious end of the scale, another staff member told how he got stuck on a garden gate trying to run from an angry mum in the middle of making her children’s tea, ducking flying sausages as he went.

The story ended with her scraping the kids’ beans over him as he crawled to safety.

All of the staff I spoke to took these incidents in their stride, accepting it as part of the job.

Sadly we often encounter people at some of the most stressful periods of their lives, having been bereaved or appearing in court, for example.

This means we get their brunt of their emotions. Many recognise that we have a job to do, but many do not. And when you have the president of the USA regularly describing journalists as liars – and worse – that doesn’t do much for our public image either.

The coverage of Dryden’s death, and the re-runs of the aftermath of the shooting provided a timely reminder of how badly wrong an everyday job can go for people in the public sector such as planning officials and police officers – and the journalists covering their activities.