menu

Monocolumn: Quality News Reporting Doesn’t Need HD

Monocolumn: Quality News Reporting Doesn’t Need HD
Advertising

In today's column from Monocle, Alex Crawford of Sky News shows the essence of old-fashioned, frontline reporting.

Caroline Ku
  • 22 august 2011

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

Wars have often turned jobbing journalists into household names and given them a heroic lustre in the process. And anyone who was surfing TV channels in the UK and beyond on Sunday night would have had to agree that one flak-jacket hard-hat wearing reporter stood out from all the other microphone-toting media types: Sky News’s Alex Crawford.

While her rivals at the BBC were miles from the action pontificating on what might be happening in Tripoli, Crawford was on a truck surrounded by rebel fighters and ululating locals. Guns fired into the night sky but, whether they were friendly fire or snipers’ pot shots, it didn’t seem to bother Alex, who interviewed people from the back of her vehicle as it edged its way slowly through the traffic into the falling capital. It’s a state of affairs that prompted BBC World News editor Jon Williams to admit today that Crawford had shown tenacity and produced “compelling coverage” (while insisting it was just too dangerous for his team to follow suit).

What’s also remarkable is that the admittedly shaky footage was produced with the aid of an Apple Mac Pro laptop and a mini satellite dish run off the vehicle’s cigarette lighter. Its immediacy was riveting but more important was the solid journalism of Crawford, who remained a calm commentator, never allowing the excitement unfolding around her to sway her judgement. And this was not Twitter-era media but old-fashioned frontline reporting that was so much more than the technology that delivered it. Who cares what the banter was in chatrooms? This was real.

Crawford joins a long list of smart war correspondents including a large number of women from Martha Gellhorn in the Spanish Civil War to Margaret Bourke-White at Buchenwald, from the BBC’s Kate Adie (from the Gulf War to Yugoslavia) and Christiane Amanpour’s reports for CNN from just about anywhere a bomb was being dropped. Indeed, as other channels literally raced to catch up with events in Tripoli it was notable how many women found themselves on the frontline: Sara Sidner of CNN and Zeina Khodr of Al Jazeera English joined Crawford in Green Square. What also makes these reporters appearances striking is that they are often the only women on the streets: in Tripoli it was clear that while the men of the house were allowed to go out and celebrate, their wives and daughters were told to bolt the doors and stay home.

However, seasoned war reporter Mort Rosenblum cautions against thinking either men or women make better reporters in the midst of a battle, but he does say, “There is a certain sort of female correspondent that needs to prove that she is tougher, steelier, and harder than her male counterparts. With such determination they talk to the right people, find real sources, and manage to deconstruct the situation and reveal its complexity.”

He also laments the growing fragmentation of the modern media saying that it has descended into a cacophony of untrustworthy commentators. “When a good press corps works well, it works like the coyote: they’re loners that hunt their own tracks but when they come together they can work as a pack, preying on information and sharing it as a collective.” Perhaps, this is why these women are so effective out on the field. Without a male ego impeding their ability to co-operate, they share what’s necessary, tell the story, and it is to the benefit of us all. Although in this instance Crawford was clearly on her own trail.

Alex Crawford’s career will inevitably get a major boost and other channels will come courting. But perhaps the real victor here will be well-told stories, calm comment and wise judgement. Or what we like to call “journalism”.

Andrew Tuck is Monocle’s editor. Additional reporting Liam Aldous.

Image via The Guardian.

For the original post on Monocle, click here.

Trending

Modular System Lets Musicians Create Their Own MIDI Controllers

Arts & Culture
Travel Today

Mercedes Reveals Dazzle-Free LED Headlights

Digital Light offers great precision with a resolution of over two million pixels

Product Launch Today

Nissan Is Testing A Digital Car Sharing Program In Europe

Nissan plans to launch their new service in Paris sometime this year to trial the profile-matching service

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Social Media Today

Your Favorite Tweets Are Now Wearable

This temporary tattoo allows fans to wear their most favorite moments from the social platform

Health Today

This Mirror Tracks Your Dark Circles And Fine Lines

HiMirror is a device snaps a photo of your face every day to provide feedback on how to care for your skin

Related Expert

Daniel Lubetzky

Sustainable Business

Sustainability Today

Biodegradable Furniture Made From Pine Needles Could Be The Next Phase Of Sustainable Living

Premiering at Dutch Design Week 2016, the collection fully utilizes an often wasted material

Syndicated Today

Madrid's 'Robin Hood' Cafe Charge The Rich To Feed The Poor

The charity restaurant makes money from customers by day to offer homeless people meals at night

USA Today

Amazon Launches Cashier-Free Store For Ultimate Efficiency

The retailer is looking to make shopping even faster by letting customers instantly pay as they walk out the door

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Creative Director: Navigating The New World Of Founder-Brands

Richard Smith, Creative Director at Sullivan, explains how visionaries like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg approach their branding and why it’s important to apply brand thinking to founders’ products

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Augmented & Virtual Reality Today

Marble-Like Mini-Worlds Invade Miami Art Week And Your Mobile Screen

The gallery world's sphere of influence seems to be expanding into the realm of Pokémon Go—why that's a good thing

Technology Today

A 'USB Stick' That Can Detect HIV Levels

The simple device developed at Imperial College London measures viral load in less than 30 minutes

Customer Retention Today

Crafting The Personalized Retail Experience

Marriott International's Christopher Baer shares insights into how the hospitality company is strategizing customer service

Experiential Marketing Today

Zagat's Cafe Offers Tiny Replicas Of Classic NYC Dishes

The restaurant rating service created buzz for its new guide and app by opening a tiny food cafe

Children Today

Experience The White House In Augmented Reality Using A $1 Bill

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is an AR app designed to help people learn about the history and significance of the United State's capital building

PSFK EVENT

FUTURE OF RETAIL 2017:
Conference Built Around Report Launch
BUY TICKETS

Travel Today

Portable Computer Monitor Opens Up Like An Umbrella For Travelers

This mobile screen and projector means work can go anywhere and still feel like working from home

Food Today

Starbucks Is Selling An Automated Temperature-Setting Mug

For those looking to keep their coffee hot on their winter commutes, the coffee chain has created a device that keeps beverages exactly at their desire temperature

No search results found.