Sunday, 14 July 2013

Reporting from Syria - one woman's struggle as freelancer

A dark, rancid corner Borri says journalists have failed to explain Syria’s civil war because editors only want ‘blood.’ (Alessio Romenzi)

Here is an interesting, infuriating and disturbing article about the risks freelance journalists covering the civil war in Syria have to take and the editors who insist on “blood and bang-bang” rather than explanations and the impact of war on the people who have to live through it.

The article untitled  “Woman’s Work” – the twisted reality of an Italian freelancer in Syria by Francesca Borri in this issue of Columbia Journalism Review also highlights the lack of support from editors who don’t seem to give a damn about what their freelancers have to do to get the story, the lack of resources, the ridiculous pay ($70 a story!) and perhaps the most depressing, the fierce competition amongst journalists who believe they need to fight each other in order to survive as journalists.  

Behind the harsh reality of journalists’ life in conflict zones is the larger problem of reduced staff positions driving reporters to the front lines without the support of a publication, CJR points out.

The piece has received hundreds of comments from readers. And many wanted to help.  CJR has published a subsequent article asking freelancers to share ideas and organizations, which can help, protect and support journalists. Here is what they have come up with so far. The site will be updated regularly.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, which acts as a line of first defence when journalists working in conflict zones are imprisoned, kidnapped, or otherwise harmed.

Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues: Reporters on staff at publications often receive medical training for managing battle wounds. RISC fills the gap for independent journalists, providing medical training to journalists who cover conflict free of charge. 

The Dart Center: Columbia’s Dart Center provides a roster of resources for journalists trying to cover stories of violence and conflict with sensitivity.

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