The practice of parachute journalism is not the most effective way to cover international stories, according to Cath Turner.
With experience in reporting for both eastern and western news, the Channel Seven reporter and former Al Jazeera journalist said having first-hand knowledge or experience with a culture gave stories more depth. She even said her physical appearance has helped her: “When I go to eastern countries, I have the advantage of having the same skin colour.
“[They say] you will understand me more than a blonde girl standing next to me with a Prada bag,” she said.
Ms Turner said journalists sent over to report internationally without having prior knowledge of the area can not fully gauge the enormity of a story.
“Reporters have to live the life to report on these sorts of issues,” she said.
Also drawing from personal experiences, executive producer of Al Jazeera in Washington DC, Peter Charley, spoke of the hostilities that came with working for a media organisation overseas.
Moving from Australia in late 2014 to pursue his career at Al Jazeera, Mr Charley spoke of the tension he faced when identifying his media organisation. He said along with the positive feedback, he received a lot of negative opinions of the media organisation, with some people even thinking they were linked to terrorism.
He also discussed sending journalists to war-torn situations such as in Syria, the diminishing access for journalists to travel to these areas and the true need for a fourth estate.
“We aren’t prepared to risk journalists’ lives for the story,” he said. – Greta Levy
Top photo by Dan Walker.