The foreign correspondent as hero

Don’t get me wrong, I respect journalists who brave dangers to bring us news from the frontlines. Their first-hand reports are becoming increasingly rare as the pressures of the relentless 24/7 news cycle, combined with cost-cutting of major news companies, are resulting in ‘churnalism’ rather than proper investigative journalism.  In the case of that powder keg in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe, it is all the more important that fearless journalists do everything they can to circumvent the repressive measures Mugabe’s government are bringing to bear on the press to keep that country on the agenda of the international media – which, as we know, have a short attention span. But when foreign reporting becomes reporting about foreign correspondents themselves rather than the news subject – about their heroism rather than that of the people they should be reporting on – \foreign correspondents get in the way of their story.  This is an example: if Ian Pannell, reporting for the BBC from Zimbabwe, has “spoken to people with deep gouged wounds in their buttocks and their feet, broken limbs, burnt down homes, even the bereaved”, why are we hearing more about his (very understandable) fear in the face of government-sponsored violence than about that of the Zimbabweans themselves?



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