Conflict zones: Working Conditions and the Danger of a Single Story

Exciting, glamorous and challenging: the reality of working as a war correspondent isn’t always being portrayed. What’s it like reporting from a conflict area, how do journalists cope with the situations that arise, and how should they?

The panellists: Moritz Gathmann, journalist with focus on Russia and Caucasia, peace activist Gülsen D., Christoph Dreyer from Reporters Without Border and Krsto Lazarevic, freelance journalist.

This is what twitter had to say during the discussion.


When moderator Maria Wölfle, journalist and menac team member, opened the panel by addressing the security issue aspects for journalists in conflict zones, Gathmann raised awareness concerning the possible impact of posts on journalists’ social media pages.

This point was also picked up by participants and further discussed on twitter by users not taking part in Rethinking Journalism on-site.




Another important point mentioned on the panel was on-the-ground security.


tweet6Moritz Gathmann quoted a journalist who said that in extreme situations, such as being arrested-you stop being a journalist and get involved in interaction with the people around you and the ones who arrested you.


When the discussion ventured in the direction of coping with psychological aspects of working in conflict areas, Dreyer mentioned trainings for journalists.


However, according to a participant in the audience, this isn’t necessarily a solution.

tweet9There seemed to be agreement that writing in and from conflict zones also means knowing one´s own limits.




Panellist Gülsen D. stressed the advice given by war correspondent Simone Schlindwein from our first panel discussion on Monday.


The panel further discussed the ethics, quality, and techniques of reporting from conflict zones.



Another topic covered in the panel discussion was the actual impact of reporting in and from conflict zones.




Due to lack of time, not all topics the audience would have liked to discuss were covered in the 1,5 hour long panel.


The Danger of a Single Story, and other things to reflect on:

The second part of the day focused on input on ethical journalism by peace activist Gülsen D. The sessions were interactive, and included a Skype conversation with an ICT security expert and plenty of videos.

Gülsen started off with a brief version of Chimamanda Adichie´s Ted talk “The Danger of a Single Story”. The purpose of this video was to reflect on how we as journalists ourselves might reproduce the “Single Story”, and how this could be avoided.

Watch the full video here:

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Another video was shown to discuss the impacts for journalists when a reporter misses a story.

Roy Gutman on Missing the Real Story in the war in Croatia

In this one you can find a general overview on security.

The Heat: Reporting from conflicts and war zones 2.
What challenges do they face and why do they do it? Courtney Radsch is the Advocacy Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Asra Nomani is an author, journalist and activist, she was also a close friend of journalist Daniel Pearl who was brutally murdered by al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

and here a specific overview of security in war zones.

James Nachtwey on Dangers in Covering War in African conflicts

This leads us to the psychosocial effects of war.

Savasi Anlatan Kadinlar – Sofia Amara

Finally, a video on war and conflict reporting.

Lindsey Hilsum – Savasi Anlatan Kadinlar Fragman

Text by Lisa Zeller


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