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Being a female journalist

July 21, 2009

The news on the assault of Erin Andrews (who?) grabs my attention. Erin is a FEMALE sports journalist with ESPN and she is attractive, friendly and knowledgeable in sports. What happened was Andrews was videoed in her birthday suit with a hidden camera from her hotel room’s peephole. Note on this ladies! Yes, don’t go round naked in your hotel room without first masking off that peephole.

That’s not the morale of the story actually. This news article by Maggie Hendricks said that female journalists are now scared after what has happened to Andrews. I say, of course female journalists would feel that way after what has happened. In the news article, Hendricks mentioned a number of western female journalists who were either harassed and humiliated. Working as a journalist and being a female at that is never easy.

And what can I say (hope :p) with the Bruneian counterparts? This is what I think based on my personal experience. You conclude my story yourself. When I was a journalist, I asked my Chief Reporter to assign me to a football match. Why? Because I love the beautiful game and I do know its rules and bla…bla…bla. My Chief Reporter said, “Nope, you go and cover a domestic science festival where you will interview the flowers and find out who design the decorations.”  Nah, not exactly like that but I wasn’t given the football assignment. It was given to, you guessed it.

So not wanting to wait for assignments, I took my own initiatives and searched for my own news story (with the consent of my Chief Reporter of course). One day, I came to know from the Fisheries Department that there was a red tide around Brunei Bay and I quickly grabbed a mike and went to interview the fish vendors at the wet market. Going to the market was not that difficult, what made it difficult was the vendors themselves.

Scene 1: At the nearest fish stall:

Me (ignoring the whistles and bad names that followed): “How does the red tide affect your business Tuan Haji?”
Tuan Haji (ignoring me as there was a number of customers who wanted his FROZEN fish) “Ten dollars per kilo…”
Me (being persistent then asked Tuan Haji’s assistant): “How’s business?”
Tuan Haji’s assistant (scanning me up and down): “Dudidudidu…what business?” 

Scene 2: At the second nearest stall:

Me(putting up a thick skin): “Do you know there’s a red tide now?”
Stall owner: “So?”
Me: “How’s your business then?”
Stall owner #1: “Who wants to know?”
Me (I almost said the President of the United States of America): “Thank you for your time. I see you have frozen fish as well, just like your neighbors. No fresh fish huh?”

Scene 3: Further down:

Me (with a stone-cold face): “How’s business with the red tide?”
Stall owner #2 (another scanner in a form of a human male looking at me up & down): “Yes, it’s okay as long as I have lovely lady-customers coming to my stall.”
Me (asking my cameraman to shoot more frozen fish with the price tag)

Scene 4: Outside the market with more ‘fans’ shouting at me in the background – nice!:

Me (doing my piece-to-cam, being myself): “So here I am at the fish market with no fresh fish in sight. Having interviewed a couple of fish-mongers here they said that they just have to sell frozen and imported fish. The price tags are different too I noticed before the red tide enters the Brunei Bay. The public has also been warned not to eat shellfish…..  

Do you get the picture? Of course this is just one story and there are many more stories which are part of parcels of being a journalist, a female one to be exact.  Dudidu…didu.. Maybe I should open up a Journalist Academy in Brunei with my first subject: How to beat them and not to join them or you will be just like them?

Now I found this site from the University of Southern California’s Image of Journalists in Popular Culture it says, to be interesting and full of database.


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