Think twice before you embark upon the wings of a journalistic sprite. Memories and trailers of Christiane Amanpour's fascinating, daring and mesmerizing reporting which she did during the bloody war of Bosnia Herzegovina on CNN might have inspired you to create a niche for yourself into the wall of fame.
Yes, it was real and great then; it moved the public and the governments and forced the decision makers to act. However, all that glitters is not gold. She was as she is still the costliest and indispensible star of journalistic firmament. She has always taken in awe and respect among the highest echelons of world
powers. But she had to travel a long and arduous path to reach there. The world in her youth was more rational and safer place. It was governed with certain rules, precedents and conventions. War was a game of soldiers and collateral damage was still limited. Now the fine line of ‘firing at protestors’ and ‘firing at the enemy soldiers’ is being blurred. War zones have enveloped the city-squares, mosques and other public places.
Serious journalism is always a risky business. Often it is for the war-zone-reporters that the bells toll. The proverbial snobbish Fleet Street is neither glamorous not thrilling – may be exciting if you feel the nuance. It is cluttered with bullets, bombs, injured incapacitated soldiers and cadavers. Your Chief must have handed over a diary of ‘War Zone Rules’ and another copy of ‘Safety Precautions’ before he bade you farewell for war-zone report. The reality of this favor is - these are compulsory. Behind this patina of benevolence lies the ardent and fervent demand of ‘Hardest News’. Please send it as you’ve been trained to do; your best report even if a bullet has pierced your knee; even you’re cornered in a zone of carpet bombing. Heights of devotion and absurdity coalesce when your editor wants a report when you are kidnapped. It is not fiction. You’re supposed to report irrespective of your geographical or critical location as long as you’re alive. It may sound like slipping into the lunacy of news. Dear me, you’ve to cater to the curious reader of your newspaper or the trendy observer of your news channel. You’re not cut-out for the job if you panicked. You have to grip your pen or play your lap-top; you’ve to hold the microphone to show your phenomenal dexterity amid the staccato crackle of firing.
No part of earth would shake, if as green horn, you’re consumed as powder for gun; you’re dispensable new-comer an insignificant mite of collateral damage. God forbid if you’re a free-lance reporter, a pen peddler, a rootless phenomenon with no support of a powerful media-house.
Italian journalist Francesca Borri learned her lesson the hard way. She had covered the Syrian Conflict for a year. During this period she was laid up with typhoid and she got a sniper bullet in her knee. She did reporting uninterrupted all through the troubled times. Back home, a fine day, her editor was watching the news on T.V. He saw someone kidnapped with a likeness of Borri. The mighty pillar of Human Rights skeptically felt that it were she who was kidnapped. He sent an email to Francesca Borri which said; “Should you get a connection, could you tweet your detention.”
Do you harbor an illusion of the fat-salary they carry home? Forget it if your sport that! It is the meager sum of seventy dollar / piece.
No one cares how and what, from inside, a reporter feels. The shrieks or dying soldiers, the cries of women whose teen-kids are shot in protests, the shouts of bleeding decrepit or the miserable sobs of a helpless baby whose parents are killed - these are just ‘tads and tit-bits of events’ and the reporter has to follow certain guidelines to present them. Every quote has to follow the official line and undercurrent of organization he is reporting for. The presentation should be made through the lens of reporter but follow the brain-wave of editor.
Latest in the list of ‘martyrs of journalism’ is the reporter of Sky T.V. is Mick Deane, 61, who is married with two sons. He was tragically shot while covering the events in Cairo for Sky News. He died during an ambush as Egyptian forces broke fire on unarmed protesters. In the land of Pharaohs and Moses the roller-coasters of Religion, Democracy and Autocracy are rolling full speed as the blood flows in the streets of Cairo. According to unofficial reports more than two thousand Egyptians have been killed this week only.
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