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The Role of the Journalist : Covering the TRC Hearings

William Tradd Stover

This focuses on a more subtle idea that the text presents: journalism. Since Krog had that position and was forced to deal with the realities that came with it, I wanted to explore this concept a bit in thinking about what a journalist would have gone through.

In Long ‘Night’s Journey Into Day’, the viewer is able to see the stories unfold in front of their own eyes. In some of the shots from the film, reporters are seen crowded around like in any other big case or event, avidly listening and almost misplaced in how they are dispersed. In this book, the reader is given the clear perpective of a journalist during this time, one that has real, complex emotions about what is going on.

As I think about this work being largely made up of a journalist’s viewpoint, I think first about what having that title entails. Usually, at least in America, people hope that reporting will be fair, balanced, and rather objective in most cases. In this case, it is hard to fathom what it must have been like for someone covering the cases and hearing testimonies to do their job ‘properly’ and objectively. There is a feeling of anger toward foreign news people that just want a story and do not have the same sort of passion for what is actually going on behind the camera lens and notepads. It is almost impossible to report on these hearings without some sort of emotion poking through in some form.

Krog is in a peculiar position given that she is an Afrikaner and is forced to deal with her nation’s history of injustice and gruesome behavior. The TRC’s hearings were obviously excruciating for the people involved, and having to report on such a thing is a really interesting and intimidating concept. I imagine that it was difficult for Krog to place herself into a group during this time of attempted reconciliation, being an Afrikaner woman. Was she responsible in some way for these spiteful acts? Was she different because of her womanhood? How could she do her part in giving victims the respect that they deserve?

When I think of all the media present at the hearings, I think of a certain picture that I looked up that really almost gives me chills. It is a photo of Jeff Benzien reenacting what he would have done to torture a black man during the apartheid rule. It is a really jarring sight, and I can not help but to think of all the people in the room that witnessed that. Something like that represents years of injustice and division, and it can be dwindled down to a click on a camera: fascinating.

This post is a little all over the place, but I was really intrigued by so many things. The ideas of journalism as a means of story telling, identity, self-placement, and ownership really struck me.

One thought on “The Role of the Journalist : Covering the TRC Hearings”

  1. I was particularly interested in the role of the journalists as well. It inspired me to begin writing my upcoming post, which I hope you will read soon. I really like how you pointed out what the title entails in the United States compared to how the book portrays it. While reading Country of my Skull, I thought to myself about how difficult it must be for journalists like Krog to separate their emotions from their career, given the considerable amount of heartrending stories that display such gruesomeness and grief that they are exposed to. Are they just expected to not show any sort of emotion during the reporting process? Or, does it just simply take someone with such thick skin to take on this role?
    Also, your post really isn’t all over the place! I felt the same sense of intrigue while reading and I appreciate that you wrote about something so similar to what I have been working on.

    Liked by 2 people

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