Ryan Brown is a 2018 Great Lakes IWMF Fellow and the Christian Science Monitor’s Africa correspondent. She’s based in Johannesburg, South Africa and this isn’t her first IWMF Fellowship. Check our highlights from her previous trips here.
Ryan and I first met in Juba. And the more time I spent with Ryan the more I became a fan of her work as a journalist and the more I cared for her as a friend. Ryan is a Journalist with a capital “J”. She’s a human first. She considers the big picture when writing and truly understands and values the responsibility that comes along with being a public servant. Ryan and I also have a shared love of all animals especially dogs.
For this post I asked Ryan: How do you decide what stories to tell?
“I try to write the same kinds of stories I like to read, which are stories that draw the world in close, that make it feel smaller and more relatable. I don’t like to say that I give “voice” to people – because everyone has a voice, whether or not people are listening to it. And I don’t like to say I “humanize” people, because everyone I write about was a human being before I arrived and will keep being one after I close my notebook and walk away. But I do try to tell stories that amplify voices we don’t often hear elsewhere, particularly in the West, and stories that have the potential to complicate the way we see and relate to faraway places, particularly African places. So those are the principles that guide me as I look for pieces to write. And of course I want my readers to be entertained. I don’t want reading my stories to feel like eating spinach. It should be, if not always fun, at least interesting and illuminating. I owe it to my sources to tell their stories that way too.”
– Sarah Jones