Whenever I tell someone I work as a freelance journalist in Cairo, I prepare for the intake of breath followed by the polite, yet incredulous questions that barely mask the “you must be crazy” expression on their faces. This week, spending time with a dynamic group of international female journalists in Uganda, has been a welcome relief from the normal reaction to my career choice.
It’s so affirming and encouraging to know that this group of women is out there in the world. Print and radio reporters, photojournalists, and multimedia producers working from the prairies of Kansas to the jungles of the DRC. Rather than question my sanity for my career choice, we are instead discussing the best time of day for getting the best light to interview people of color, microphone techniques for recording on water, and safety strategies for covering protests.
We’ve already learned potentially life-saving information in our Hostile Environment Training with Global Journalist Security, but we’ve also had the chance to discuss things that just don’t come up when you spend time with male correspondents… Like the dinner chat about birth control choices in conflict zones.
Some of the conversations about the situations we encounter and decisions we must make are tough, but helpful. We are all learning from and sharing with each other, and it’s amazing so far… And we haven’t even started reporting yet.