“A good bra and heels” is what makes a great female correspondent feel even better, according to More4 News presenter Kylie Morris. She should know as she has spent the last decade reporting from hotspots across Asia and the Middle East. Kylie was at POLIS today to talk to Summer School students about war reporting. It was a fascinating set of insights from one of our least pretencious and most effective foreign correspondents, now turned TV news presenter.
Kylie said that she ‘dreams of the day when there are no foreign correspondents’. By this I think she meant that the best people to report about a country to the rest of the world are usually the journalists who live there. As Kylie said, most journalism in Iraq is done by Iraqis because it is too dangerous for foreign journalists to work normally. But, she suggests, why not have, for example, Zimbabwe reported by Zimbabweans?
The normal retort is that the news organisation needs to have editorial ‘control’ over their correspondent who has to understand the culture of the audience back in Britain. But correspondents like The Guardian’s award-winning Baghdad correspondent Ghaith Abdul-Ahad don’t seem to have a problem. NGOs and even the British Foreign Office increasingly use ‘natives’ to work for them abroad, perhaps journalism should, too.