How to be a war reporter: Ask questions, build relationships, stay calm

Talking to people, staying calm and taking the time to build relationships were listed among the ways to succeed as a war corresondent in a new film produced by BAFTA.

Documentary filmmaker Olly Lambert, cameraman and editor Fred Scott, freelance documentary director Janet Harris, head of news gathering for Sky News Jonathon Levy and international editor of ITV news Bill Neely were among those taking part in the short film.

When asked what their aim as a war correspondent was, Lambert said: “I’m a storyteller…if I come back and can’t tell a viewer the story then I’ve failed.”

Neely said his aim was to tell the story "'In an objective…and as calm a way as you possibly can".

All of the interviewees agreed the most important aspect of finding a story is talking to people, communicating and building relationships.

Harris said: “You need the time and the trust…it’s about relationships with people.”

According to Scott: “Eighty percent of the job should be just talking to people, working out who people are, how they can help you and how you can help them.”

Lambert said: “The longer you can stay in a single location the more your going to soak up about what’s taking place.”

When asked what the most  difficult aspect of the job is, Scott said: “Dealing with ferocious killers who don’t speak a language you understand and you have to manage the situation I think that’s the thing that makes anyone’s hair stand on the back of your neck.”

Neely concluded the video saying: “It’s a very important thing to do war and conflict…it asks very searching questions of mankind and our job as journalists is to speak truth to power, shine a light in the dark places, be a witness to history and sometimes to stand up for those who have no voice.”

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