Female war correspondents: Beyond the Logan episode

Many thanks to Kim Barker of the Chicago Tribune for her piece in ProPublica and the New York Times last week on female war correspondents.

Female Foreign Correspondents’ Code of Silence, Finally Broken

Anyone who has lived or worked in an uber-male dominated society can imagine the harassment and hassles these women face. I join with Barker in praising Logan for speaking out.

Unfortunately, the actions of those who molested Logan and other female correspondents seem to have opened up two lines of commentary that is both uncivil and stupid.

While most comments that have flooded the websites of news organizations have been supportive of Lara Logan, some have been down right racist and misogynistic

NPR Ombudsman Alicia C. Shepard talked about how NPR had to take down some comments from its website and has to come up with a new way to monitor the comments because of the uncivil actions of a few.

NPR Struggling with Crude Behavior by Some Users of Its Web Site

And don’t think for a minute the women who volunteer to go into war zones don’t know what they are getting into. So there is none of this “being politically correct” crap.

Male reporters have faced beatings and assaults while covering events in Egypt and Bahrain. But no one is saying that maybe the news organization should not send them to cover the story.

As Barker points out, sometimes the female correspondents come back with stories that their male counterparts either don’t think about or can’t get.

Without female correspondents in war zones, the experiences of women there may be only a rumor.

Look at the articles about women who set themselves on fire in Afghanistan to protest their arranged marriages, or about girls being maimed by fundamentalists, about child marriage in India, about rape in Congo and Haiti. Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.

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