Bill Keller's Newsroom Memo on How the NYT Freed Its Reporters in Libya

This memo from editor Bill Keller just went out to the New York Times newsroom, celebrating the official release of the four NYT employees who'd been detained in Libya since last week. His comments on the resources the paper calls on to help rescue its staffers are interesting and worth noting.

To the Staff:

We're overjoyed to report that our four journalists missing in Libya since Tuesday morning are free and have arrived safely in Tunisia. The Libyan government informed us through various channels Thursday afternoon that Anthony, Tyler, Lynsey and Steve were in Tripoli, in the custody of the Libyan authorities, and would be freed soon. The four were allowed to speak to their families by phone Thursday night. Because of the volatile situation in Libya, we've kept our enthusiasm and comments in check until they were out of the country, but now feels like a moment for celebration. And before long we'll all know the details of their experience.

We're particularly indebted to the Government of Turkey, which intervened on our behalf to oversee the release of our journalists and bring them to Tunisia. We were also assisted throughout the week by diplomats from the United States and United Kingdom.

Arthur spoke on Thursday about The Times as a family, and it certainly felt like one during the many hours of worry and activity focused on our missing journalists. In fact it felt like something of an extended family, as journalists from rival news organizations, governments (our own and others), press freedom groups and other intermediaries rushed to offer their help in locating our people and securing their release. There are too many people to thank, but I will tip my hat to David McCraw, who has become entirely too expert at the business of extricating Times journalists from peril. I also need to thank Chris Chivers, who dropped everything to come in Thursday night and spent the last three days (and nights) dug in with David working on the release.

And, in a week when we have dared to declare that the work we do is worth paying for, this is a reminder that real, boots-on-the-ground journalism is hard and sometimes dangerous work. To the many colleagues who are deployed in hard places - the battleground streets of North Africa and the Middle East, the battered landscape of Japan - we implore you to be careful.

Best,

Bill

[Photo: Getty]