100 articles – ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler: Nigel Brennan’

19 September 2011

Written by: Lawrie Zion

‘Conversations with Richard Fidler: Nigel Brennan’  broadcast by ABC Local Radio

Not many jobs carry the terrifying possibility of being taken hostage and spending over 400 days in captivity. The average journalist wouldn’t be counted ordinarily in that unfortunate few.

But there is a particular variety of reporters who find themselves in that very situation:  intrepid photographers and journalists covering wars in Africa.

Freelance Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan is one such person.

He wasn’t naive; he knew the risks of working in Somali capital Mogadishu. He thought he’d taken every precaution, arranging security for himself and his companion, Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout. But they were ambushed and held for ransom in 2008.

That’s a lot to take on for your profession.

After his release in 2009, Brennan and his family wrote an account of their experiences, publishing The Price of Life in June 2011.

In this interview with radio host Richard Fidler, Brennan discusses his book and shares with us the terror he lived through, as well as explaining how he came to be in a dangerous country.

Brennan felt driven to tell stories through images and believes that if journalists don’t ‘shine a light into the darkest corners of the earth, we all end up burying our head in the sand’.

While these are noble ambitions, and competition is fierce in this profession, are you any less worthy a journalist if you don’t take reporting to these extremes?

Mary-Lou Ciampa is studying the Graduate Diploma of Journalismat La Trobe University.

Want to contribute to our list of the 100 articles every journalist should read about journalism? Full details here.