Free Paper Analyzing the Theme of Journalism in a Documentary Film and an Essay

Published: 2022-06-10
Free Paper Analyzing the Theme of Journalism in a Documentary Film and an Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Media
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1439 words
12 min read

Dying to Tell the Story is a 1998 documentary film that examines the motivations of journalists who risk their lives in the course of duty. How Should Nick Kristof Report On "The World's Most Wretched Country?" is an essay by Abigail Higgins that offers advice to journalist Nick Kristof on how to write a certain story. Journalism plays a crucial role in informing the society and journalists go to great lengths in the course of their duties, including endangering their lives.

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On 20th July 1993, 22-year-old Dan Eldon, who was working for Reuters as a photojournalist, lost his life in the course of duty while trying to get a story. He was stoned to death by a vicious mob in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. In trying to understand her brother's work and death, Amy Eldon decided to make a documentary film titled Dying to Tell the Story. In addition to giving viewers a portrait of this brave journalist, the film also highlights the way journalism and coverage of international conflicts are important to the extent that journalists endanger their lives to do it.

Kristof is a New York Times columnist who recently visited the Central African Republic and intents to report on the problems facing the African country. he decided to visit impoverished nation in order to cover the dire humanitarian crisis it is facing. It is at the bottom of the Human Development Index list, with about half of its population in dire need of humanitarian help. The nation has been entangled in a civil war since 2013, and the dire situation has not received sufficient press coverage. Lack of enough coverage means the international community unlikely to do something about the conflict. In How Should Nick Kristof Report On "The World's Most Wretched Country?", Higgins voices her concern that poor coverage may turn out to be worse than none at all. In a story published on 23rd March 2018, Kristof describes the impoverished nation as 'the world's most wretched country'. He goes on to depict Africans solely as victims while all the experts he interviews are either European or American.

Higgins's essay seems to offer Kristof advice on the right way to go about journalism. She highlights how his article overlooks the work of the numerous CAR citizens who run non-governmental organizations (NGOs), offer healthcare, prosecute criminals, advocate for peace, and risk their own lives in order to protect others. Perhaps the most erroneous part of Kristof's story is his recommendation that UN peacekeepers should be sent to contain the conflict. It is worth noting that peacekeepers in CAR have been accused of several murders and sexual exploitation of underage girls. The columnist does not mention any of the accusations in his story.

Journalists throughout the world are known as professionals who feed the public with the news of any nature. Nick Kristof, the winner of two Pulitzer prizes, is best recognized as a political journalist who often reports on abuses of human rights in Africa and Asia. Most people argue that the world is becoming associated with technology and international organizations. It is expected that individuals from other parts of the world can comfortably report to the suffering or abuses of others. In fact, journalism is developing in a way that it allows gather and communicate firsthand information about events. Nick Kristof is one such journalist who has gained popularity in such matters. However, his latest coverage of the Central African Republic, have raised a lot of questions on how he should report issues.

Kristof's strategy in the field of journalism is always to zoom in an individual's story in order to highlight a global or national problem that other people are also experiencing. Even though he has the audience, his intimacy of narrating the story puts a face of suffering, thus, increasing the possibility that the readers will be emotional while responding to his findings. It is worth noting that a psychologist named Paul Slovic influences Kristof's work. In his study about people who meet atrocities, Slovic found out that the interest of people begins to fade when they are asked to be concerned about the suffering of two people instead of one person.

Most importantly, Kristof has been opposed for what other people disapprovingly refer to as 'advocacy journalism' because his reports provide the readers with conclusions and give them the opportunity to show their frustrations over what they have read. Nonetheless, after witnessing the problems faced by international organizations in responding to human abuses, genocide, mass atrocities and other humanitarian crises, Kristof reveals that his interest does not lie in reporting the issue to inform the public but to find the solution to these problems. In one particular case, Kristof is sported advising a young American Medical student who accompanies him to Western Congo about her responsibility as a healthcare provider.

Something else that Dying to Tell the Story highlights is the dangers associated by journalism. In 2011, the United Nations mentioned journalism as one of the world's most dangerous professions. When journalists make their way onto the streets, they are trying to find out and then tell the world what is happening. It is unfortunate that the stories they cover may lead to assault, kidnapping and, as was the case for Dan Eldon and his colleagues, death. Journalists highlight bad governance and violations of human rights. In the process, they give voice to the oppressed and victims while also contributing to raising awareness on issues to do with human rights. This is something that makes them a target.

It is sad that journalists do not get sufficient protection when compared to other risky professions. People do not seem to realize this until they observe incidences like what happened to Dan Eldon. Journalism requires verbal and written communication skills, curiosity, passion for the truth, and objectiveness. It also requires a lot of courage, as displayed by Eldon. A journalist's job is to inform people by reporting news, which is the material people use to think of what is happening around the world beyond themselves. Just like any other job, journalism should not pose a danger to professionals who practice it. For playing the role of informing the world, those in this profession deserve better protection.

While most journalists love reporting stories, not many of them like being the story. It is unfortunate that these professionals are always in the news under tragic circumstances. 65 journalists and media employees were killed across the world in 2017, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Across the world, journalists like Dan Eldon put themselves in harm's way in order to report on crucial events, sometimes with horrific results. Eldon's killing is a stark reminder of the dangers they face in finding the truth and reporting it to the people. When reporting from battle zones, they highlight the darkness and evil of war. If anything good comes from such brutal and tragic killings, it is the hope that they will draw attention to the importance of press freedom and protection of journalists. These happen to be the men and women who put their lives on the line to let the people know what is happening in their vicinity and around the world.

While Dan Eldon's death drew a lot of attention and even inspired a documentary film, many journalists out there are still risking their lives on a daily basis. This is a real reminder of the dangerous world we are living in, and the lengths to which journalists go just to report current events. They believe that a free flow of has to be there for the plight of helpless people around the world to be highlighted. If people don't get a proper understanding of what is happening around them through journalism, they cannot make sense of world events, vote wisely, or hold their leaders accountable.

The role of journalism is to serve and inform members of the society on what is happening around them. This means journalists go to great lengths in the course of their duties, including engaging in activities that endanger their lives. A good example is Dan Eldon who lost his life in 1993 and whose adventures are the subject of a documentary film. There is also Nick Kristof who travels to a poor African country in order to report on a humanitarian crisis going on there. The two cases prove that journalism requires a lot of dedication if it is to adequately serve the society.

Works Cited

Cottle, Simon., Sambrook Richard & Nick Mosdell. Reporting dangerously: Journalist killings, intimidation and security. Springer, 2016. Print.

Iggers, Jeremy. Good news, bad news: Journalism ethics and the public interest. Routledge, 2018. Print.

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