Lu-Hai Liang

thoughts from a freelance foreign correspondent

Great journalists and great journalism: How to make a name for yourself pt. 2

with 4 comments

I spend a lot of time reading. I like to consume and devour long articles and essays especially, like the ones found in The New Yorker and The Atlantic. I also like to read about the lives and careers of rising stars in journalism.

I had the opportunity to interview Nicole Tung in September. Tung is an American photojournalist and a war photographer. She went to Syria where she smuggled herself into the country, hung out with rebels, saw mercenaries from Libya and Oman, and was a witness to bombing and carnage.

Her first experience of war came a few years earlier. Here is someone who took herself to Libya, without assignment and of her own accord. She was 24 and barely out of college. She went for the experience.

Quite a lot has been written about the amount of photojournalists, green and sometimes shooting with iPhones, who made their name during that conflict. And the dangers are very real. Everyone needs to start somewhere.

During that interview with Nicole, I was intimidated. Here is someone who is fearless, deeply concerned about the plight of those caught in conflict, but also someone deeply ambitious.

Or consider Michael Hastings. Hastings died in a car accident at the age of 33. He was a Rolling Stone writer and a senior reporter for BuzzFeed. A hard worker and tenacious, he wrote a profile of General Stanley McChrystal, a NATO commander, that, through his patient and intimate reporting, led to the General’s resignation. Here’s someone who worked extremely hard and has the bravery to challenge those around him.

Or consider Paul Salopek who is spending seven years walking. Walking over 20,000 km around the world, covering early humans’ migration out of Africa, for the National Geographic. Sometimes, the best journalism is slow journalism.

These are people who take risks. It is not the only way. Brilliance flourishes in quiet, unassuming ways too. But ambition speaks. The willingness to work hard speaks. But perhaps the desire and the effort used to take yourself out of your comfort zone matters most of all.

***

This is a continuing series exploring the strategies of success of journalists and writers. Parts one and three in the series can be found here and here

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4 Responses

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  1. […] * Part 2 in the series is available here.  […]

  2. […] photojournalists, and especially their most extreme form the war photographer, are a breed apart. I have slummed it as a journalist, living in tiny rooms, subsisting on sweet […]

  3. […] This is a continuing series exploring the strategies of success of journalists and writers. Parts one and two in the series can be found here and here.  […]

  4. […] Great journalists and great journalism: how to make a name for yourself pt. 2 […]


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