Dangerous Zones for Journalists

In New York Time’s article For Novice Journalists, Rising Risks in Conflict Zones demonstrates the dangers of inexperienced journalists going out for stories in dangerous war zones. The article uses the example of Amanda Lindhout who dreamed of becoming a journalist. Lindhout wrote for her hometown newspaper in Alberta, freelanced from Iraq for Press TV and produced reports for cable news channel in France. She did not have any formal journalistic training, according to Ian Austen of the NY Times.

Lindhout decided that she would save up her money and go with her friend, Nigel Brennan, to Somalia to report for France 24, a news channel owned by the French government. The two were captured and tortured and finally released by Somali Kidnappers for a payment of $600,000, raised by family and friends, after 15 months.

“This business of inexperienced people going into conflict zones without proper preparation or training is increasingly worrying,” said Rodney Pinder, the former global editor of Reuters Television, in the NY Times.

It was reported in the article that she had suggested that she report from Somalia, but France 24 turned down her proposal.

Pinder further states, “No amount of protection can guarantee a reporter’s safety in Somalia.” Pinder describes Somalia as “too dangerous for even many experienced journalists.”

This situation relates to the course because it illustrates the type of dangers journalists face. As relatively inexperienced journalists, we should be fully aware of the dangers and obstacles that are yet to come. While it does demonstrate the risks, it also provides an overlook of what type of responsibilities is expected, the type of training needed to pursue a story in certain zones and the possible consequences of trying to capture the essence of a story. Lindhout was kept captive for 15 months where she was abused, starved and tortured. This article provides the type of perspective needed when thinking of pursuing a career in journalism.

I think this was an interesting article. It really showed the dangers that cone along with certain stories. It also gave me insight on the type of dedication needed to make it in journalism. Lindhout was obviously a very determined and dedicated aspiring journalist that wanted to make a name for herself and in that sense should be respected.

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