Thursday, 1 March 2007

War reporting just isn’t my thing

A little about me, I’m a 22-year-old who favours Grazia over the Economist. I have always loved to write, anything, and I am endlessly nosy. Combining these passions I found my niche, journalism. This blog began as an academic task. When asked to create a blog on a current affairs issue my first thought was, “The demise of Britney Spears’ hair” or on a wider scale “Can curls really be the new straight?”

A friend mentioned the matter of the war reporter death toll rising and the affect this is having on independent coverage from war zones. I was intrigued, but this was not something I would usually consider writing about. Every time I open up a newspaper and try to understand what is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon so much past knowledge is assumed that I tend to shy away from the subject feeling ignorant to the issues and ashamed that I don’t know more. I feel that I have a basic understanding but I am nowhere near confident enough to vocalise an informed opinion.

By choosing to tackle this subject I forced myself to jump in at the proverbial deep end and I assume that I will have to ask a lot of seemingly obvious questions along the way. Aside from my choice of publication and enthusiasm for hair I like to think of my attitude as more Jane Austen than Jessica Simpson and I am alarmed at how much I have missed because of my anticipation to enter the debate. I didn’t want to appear stupid. But I have come to realise that too many abstain from offering opinion with my same excuses. I find it impossible to believe that anyone could fail to be interested in this topic.

If you’ve found yourself lost in all the jargon, I urge you to come join me on this journey of discovery. And if you are far more knowledgeable and worldly you may at the very least find my little blog an amusing insight from a relatively humble being. This has surpassed the original purpose and become a conquest to extinguish my own ignorance to a very real affair. I invite you to learn with me.

In the next few weeks I intend to interview journalists and casualties of war, review books, address any issues that arise in the press, attend events at organisations and relay it all for you and your comment.


phoenix said...

The Economist is a great read. I find it to be one of the less biased magazines as it questions everyone and everything when it comes to money superceding morality. Money is the issue, but the wellfare of communities is what allows business to be their best. Anyone over thirty who have lived in passive apathy up until now, are reaping the results of this behavior. Your generation and others behind you can learn from this. Good going on wanting to know more.

Anonymous said...

I like this Katriona.
I agree that we often don't think we are 'clever' enough or 'educated' enough to offer up an opinion but believe me, we all have them. So it's bollocks to feel stifled because you don't feel you 'know enough' to have formed an opinion which is valuable.
We are all entitled to our opinion and thank goodness we are still, by and large, entitled to express it in this country so long as we are not inciting war or terrorism which is fair enough.

Course it's true that the better educated we are the better we might understand what is going on in the world - not only from what we are 'told' in newspapers or on TV but what we have learned from a rich education: history and philosphy, religions, world affairs, politics etc.... and hearing about the experience of people who have been there: in this case the soldiers, the correspondents, the victims of and the survivors of war.

Discussion broadens minds, like travel. By exposing ourselves to different peoples, different beliefs and cultures, and different opinions we begin to change our own through argument and greater knowledge.

But you still don't have to be an intellectual to have an opinion.In fact often those with the strongest opinions have no real knowledge of the subject they are banging on about. You only have to sit in the pub for a night and get the punters talking about the subjects they feel strongly about - and i don't only mean football! Sometimes I squirm. The 'ism's' our sometimes 'nanny' state tries so hard to ban, are all alive and well in the good old British public house.

It's great that you are using this opportunity to broaden your knowledge. Knowledge is Power they say and I think it is.

I find it fascinating to see how differently say 'The Mail' and 'The Sun', 'The Times,' 'Gaurdian' Independent' report the same events....use their power .. A different slant ... a different personality.. but the same truth?

You keep going girl.We need inquisitive, thirsty young minds like yours writing in our newpapers. Stuff the celebs. Who cares in the end about a bunch of pathetic, empty, largely stupid and invariably spoiled people who's only ambition is fame.

There's much more to get your teeth into in the real world.

Question: Which newspaper would you go to for HONEST reporting?

Anonymous said...

Here here! I think what you've chosen to do is a brilliant thing. More people need to know about the political issues that are shaping our world rather than Posh Spice's move to LA. For the record I hear its not going well-her and David are sleeping in different beds ;)but seriously we should be focusing on far more important things. If your really interested in the issues of the casualties of reporting in general maybe you should raise the issue about Anna Politkovskaya, the death of investigative reporters and questionable freedom of press in Russia which is also very very disturbing.

Anonymous said...

Fianlly something on this subject that I can relate to! I'm willing to learn with you.

Amy said...

I think a lot of people, especially young people, can relate to these problems. But the fact that you're willing to tackle a difficult subject in order to learn more and perhaps educate others in the process speaks volumes about the kind of person that you are.

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Laura said...

I agree with your comment about how people shy away from debates such as these, especially where difficult topical issues are concerned, for fear of not being knowledgeable enough, and instead concentrate on issues that don't really matter. The events that shape our future are occurring right now, and yet many people of our generation, including myself, would rather read about Britney's bald head or the spring/summer line at Topshop, because it is more accessible and easier to talk about. Personally I feel this is a part of a much wider issue, where the intellectualism and political activism that inspired and characterised the older generation has been replaced by general apathy and a reluctance to feel strongly about anything.

Fran Singh said...

I totally agree with you on that one, it is something I am totally guilty of myself....and when I started my blog I also thought of addressing things worthy of heat magazine. But I have come to realise this is foolish, you need to jump straight in even if you arent the expert on the topic. Which is what you have done. Ive read your articles and you've made me interested. And thats what blogging is all about. You dont have to know everything or be an expert on the subject. If you get people interested in what you write and raise awareness, which you have, your doing a good job.

Livvy said...

Thanks for writing this.