A new article has been published about my mother. The story inspired my just completed novel “Jenny Flynn.”
The picture, was taken of my mother in her youth when she was learning to fly on an old World War I trainer called a “Jenny.”
Read more here: Motherhood Moment blogspot.com
President and CEO of the Associated Press Gary Pruitt delivered a speech at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club on Monday. He stated that it should be a war crime for journalists to be killed in the line of duty– in the same way that it is a war crime to kill Red Cross volunteers.
Two Associated Press journalists were shot in Khost province, Afghanistan: Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus on April 4, 2014. Anja Niedringhaus died in the attack. Kathy Gannon was also wounded but survived.
From the editorial in the Los Angeles Daily News (April 9, 2014)
For many the Vietnam War is no more than history. For those of us for whom it is a vivid memory, the 45th anniversary of the Tet Offensive this year is a time to wonder if we’ve learned any lessons from the war.
Photographers on assignment in Oakland, Calif., are robbery targets to such an extent that they need security guards to accompany them. The New York Times reports that the Oakland Tribune’s chief photog, Laura Oda, has had her cameras taken twice at gunpoint. Police say they have no idea where the secondary market is for the equipment, because it’s not showing up through the usual fences.
Things have gotten so bad for journalists in Syria that The Sunday Times of London is refusing to accept freelancers photographs from the conflict. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists in a Feb. 6 posting, the paper for which American Marie Colvin was working when she was killed last year in Homs, doesn’t want to encourage those willing to risk their lives to get the story out. The site reports that 28 journalists were killed in Syria “in combat or targeted for murder by government or opposition forces,” as of mid-December, 2012. CPJ says two more have so far been killed this year in Syria.
CPJ quotes Paul Wood, a BBC Middle East correspondent who covered Iraq and numerous other wars, as saying the Syrian conflict “is the most difficult one we’ve done.” Bashar al-Assad’s government sought to cut off the flow of information by barring entry to international reporters, forcing Wood and many other international journalists to travel clandestinely into Syria to cover the conflict. “We’ve hidden in vegetable trucks, been chased by Syrian police—things happen when you try to report covertly.” http://www.cpj.org/
The newspapers sitting on my desk since August are already almost yellow. I’ve been thinking since then of writing this. The capture and release of NBC’s Richard Engel and his crew lifted me from my ennui.
Why in the collective conscience are soldiers the only heroes in combat boots, why not the messengers of the bad news? ITEM: From the New York Times of 8/22/12 – “Two days after a Japanese journalist, Mika Yamamoto, was shot and killed in the Syrian city of Aleppo, her news agency released some of the footage she recorded in her final hours. The video, posted online with subtitles by The Telegraph of Britain, shows that Ms. Yamamoto, 45, was filming Syrian rebel fighters alongside her partner, Kazutaka Sato, when she was shot and killed.”
Here’s my take on truth in fiction: a guest article I wrote for The Crime Writers’ Chronical
This business about truth is confusing. Novels should be truer than life? Heightened reality? I spent my early working life as a daily journalist, and truth was truth and facts were facts. And anyone who strayed from that was soon on the carpet, or more likely out the door. Or should I say, anyone who got caught. So when I began struggling to write my first novel – set in Vietnam, of all places – I did one whale of a lot of research. I didn’t have to research the main character’s dilemma: She was a journalist in the late 1960s trying to prove to the all-male cast of characters that she could do the work. I’d been there done that, all I had to do was teach myself about Vietnam and the “American” war. And as I got rejection after rejection on my early novelistic attempts, I couldn’t grasp the meaning behind the comments.
They all were a variation on the same theme: The setting, the characters were mesmerizing, spellbinding, couldn’t-put-it-downable. So why didn’t they want to buy my book? Because the story didn’t work.
I had a hard row to hoe, to figure out how one makes fiction real, breathing of life, yet … what’s that extra magic ingredient?