Blog Entry #2 The Danger of Freelance Journalism in Syria

There is no shortage of information when it comes to the drama taking place outside the Syrian border. Mass media from any nation can stand back and report at a safe distance. The information that we thrive for from within the country only comes from freelance journalists and photographers who are inside the country. All of these reporters are putting themselves in great personal risk. The committee to protect journalists reports that nearly half of the journalists killed in Syria since the conflict began were freelancers. Due to risks and liabilities, several UK based newspapers stated that they would no longer use freelance journalists in war zones. However, as the crisis in Syria has escalated, the UK has been soliciting freelance help, completely going against their word. Richard Pendry says that it is all about the money for these papers. He believes that these papers are attempting to cut back on their own liabilities rather than up the safety for their freelance reporters.

Francesca Borri is an Italian freelance writer in Syria and she writes for the Colombia Journalism Review. She discusses how freelance journalists are actually not free at all. People have a false stereotype regarding freelance journalists. They believe journalists choose this position because they want to be there. This is rarely true. The editors place these journalists on the front lines, where the main conflict is, rather than in a safe location. These editors only care about the blood, violence and action and want every grainy detail. Both Pendry and Borri discuss how expensive it is to be a freelance journalist in Syria. These journalists cannot afford insurance and cannot afford to be wounded. Borri says that most are paid around seventy dollars a piece and that editors know this is a very minute amount of salary for there journalists to live off of.

It is becoming increasingly dangerous for media to use international freelance writers, or members of “the tribe.”  However they are becoming so much of a liability, because they are often held for ransom, or kidnapped.  The news media who purchased then becomes liable for them, and the story they purchased becomes evidence. News sources are now waiting to purchase stories until the reporter is safely out of the country. It puts media sources in a bad spot.  They are expected to report on the current status from the front line. These international journalists are the cheapest form of correspondence for the news media.  This poses a problem, because there has to be a way to report from the front lines.

Other problems arise out of who is reporting.  According to On the Media many of the reporters are Syrian Nationals are working for The Wire.  This brings a bias opinion to the article, because the reporter is commenting on a civil war in their own country, on the front lines giving a real up close perspective.

Does the media force these violent images upon us unwillingly or do we desire them? Why do we accept this/allow this to happen?


About jlcame11

I am a Rhetoric and Communications major. I'll be graduating in May 2015, making this my senior year. I am the President and Captain of the St. Lawrence University Men's Rugby Club, Managing Co-Editor of the Hill News, Editor-in-Chief of The Underground: Journal of Undergraduate Research, and host of a country music radio show on KSLU. I was born and raised in Massena, NY, which is a town about 40 minutes North of St. Lawrence University. I love sports, I love movies, and I love music. I can't function without coffee and if you offer me peanut m&m's, you could probably get me to do anything.
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