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Depicting Icarus: empathy and journalism (guest blog by Victoria Yates)

Yates, Victoria (2010) Depicting Icarus: empathy and journalism (guest blog by Victoria Yates). POLIS: journalism and society at the LSE (16 Jul 2010). Website.

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“My son was nearly nineteen years old,” Mohammed said. “He wanted to be a doctor. There’s a photograph of him”-he waved his hand vaguely-“somewhere, wearing a stethoscope.” He made no move to get it, as though already discouraged by the effort. His wife begun to cry again. “Mysterious are the ways of God,” he said. There had been no warning that his son would join the militants. “He willed it. He did it. That is all. He was a good, silent, obedient boy. He was my son, but, more than that, he was my friend. He was here, dawn to dusk, every day, day and night.” (The New Yorker, Letter from Kashmir: Between the Mountains, March 11 2002) This sort of story is sadly not a novel one in journalistic discourse. It is the sort of vivid and humanising picture that the best journalists strive to create. Yet, in all its familiarity, if we are honest with ourselves it can be hard to truly recognise that this prose was written about someone. Nor do most genuinely connect with the idea that it was written by a reporter who sat looking into the eyes of grieving parents in a way none of the consumers ever do.

Item Type: Online resource (Website)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 18 May 2017 13:11
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2021 23:17

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