Friday, April 01, 2011

Journalists as the Subjects of Journalism

Photo by Lynsey Addario: Burial in Falluja, 2004
I've noticed recently a journalistic focus on the stories of journalists covering protests and revolutions in the Middle East who have been assaulted. Hearing photojournalist Lynsey Addario talk on NPR this morning about her own experience being held in Libya made me question the motivations of such stories: is it only natural for journalists to report on their own experiences? Or is there something else operating here? Certainly we all heard about the impeccable AC being roughed up in Egypt- I mean it even made the entertainment news. But in that case and many others, it was put in the context of what was going on in the whole country. But it seems to me that the coverage of assaults on female journalists, such as Addario or Lara Logan in February, focus much more on the women's personal experiences and far less on the politics of the situation, no matter how the women themselves place try to redirect what happened to the context of their jobs and the situation on the ground. Maybe this is just my feminist news filter talking - I haven't done extensive research to see if this is a larger pattern, and look to researchers like Women in Media & News (WIMN) for the informed analysis of such things - but it seems like this type of news coverage serves both a prurient interest in details about women being assaulted, as well as feeds the idea that Middle Eastern (read Muslim) men have it in for western women.

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