22 August 2011

Thinking Paper #65 – Sky News's Alex Crawford: Gifted journalist or mad lady?

By Tim Massingberd-James

Abstract

Last night Sky News Journalist Alex Crawford rode into Tripoli on the back of an open pickup truck, claiming there was 'no risk', and that she was only wearing a tin hat and flack jacket because of 'stray bullets' being fired in 'celebration'. Is this the action of a gifted journalist, providing some of the most gripping live footage ever seen in a ground war, or a mad lady?


Sky News's Alex Crawford: Gifted journalist or insane mad lady?

Alex Crawford rode in a convoy into the heart of what everyone assumed to be a dangerous war zone last night. She looked almost gleeful at times, even sounding chirpy when her convoy did a U-Turn 500m from Tripoli's Green Square due to a barrage of fire. The pictures were gripping, and echoed around the world, blowing the BBC and Al Jazeera's stock footage from the afternoon out of the water and keeping sleepy people up for hours on a Sunday night, with Alex shouting over the gunfire that "The scenes in Green Square are absolutely crazy".

The IIPBA has yet to speak to anyone in our Tripoli office to ascertain danger levels, but regardless producing this sort of coverage surely requires reporters to be slightly unhinged, or completely fruit loop mental. She seemed ok, and maybe wars aren't actually that dangerous, but in Iraq, around 150 journalists have been killed, and the IIPBA thinks that seems like a big number, rather than a small number.

Having said all this, the IIPBA has never really met a normal journalist, and most of them have been sociopaths, so it is not really a surprise that they act the way they do.

Conclusion

The IIPBA suggests that most journalists like Alex Crawford are a bit unhinged, but they do a fantastic job of keeping us in touch with what's happening around the world. The only thing to add is a query about whether or not we need rolling news at all. The IIPBA recently sent a member of staff to live on the Isle of Barra for two months, and prevented any access to television, newspapers or the internet, providing only a nice selection of books, a sketch pad and some watercolour paints. When we visited at the end of the trip, the sun was out and temperatures were pushing 25 centigrade, the staff member was much happier, and had also found an attractive new wife, had three beautiful children, and had grown a fully stocked vegetable patch. News is bad for you.

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