Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker

Lara Logan Breaks the Code of Silence

In this article published in the New York Times, female foreign correspondent Kim Barker talks about the risks and rewards of being a female in this field. She shares her own stories of being assaulted in “minor” ways by those involved in the stories that she’s trying to share, such as being in Pakistan during particularly stressful days. But she also talks about how female journalists and reporters can get to the heart of stories about how war and strife are impacting the lives of families, women, and children in a way that men often can’t. Those stories that put a human face on a war that is happening so far away from many of us are especially accessible only to females, and without the involvement of female reporters, many of these stories wouldn’t be told.

In an especially poignant commentary on the code of silence that prevails among female war correspondents, Ms. Barker says that these women do not normally discuss any bad treatment that may occur due to their gender, even amongst themselves. They’re afraid that it will make them seem weak, that it will keep them from being able to share the stories that they think are so important for the world to hear.

But, Lara Logan, the CBS foreign correspondent who was recently assaulted as she reported on the popular uprising in Egypt, has broken that code of silence. By allowing her story to be shared, she has opened the door for a conversation about gender and profession. As discussed in this article in Jezebel, the fact that being female may lead to being targeted may dissuade media conglomerates from sending female journalists to cover stories that are considered dangerous.

In both articles, the point is argued that part of equality is allowing individual professionals to make their own choices. ANY journalist who chooses to cover a story in a war zone or a place where a rebellion is occurring chooses to put themselves in a dangerous situation. Male or female, they can be hurt or killed, and they know this. The point is, they choose to do it because they believe that this story matters, that it’s important for the truth to be shared with the world. As adults and professionals, male or female, it is their right in a free society to make that choice, and deal with the results.

There are many men and women who put themselves in dangerous situations everyday in order to do jobs that they feel called to do for the betterment of society: police officers and fire fighters to name two. As committed professionals, they all deserve our support, regardless of their gender.

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