Sunday, January 22, 2006

In Jill Carroll's own words: Why she went to cover Iraq

Detroit Free Press - Almost a year before she was taken hostage by the Revenge Brigade, freelance writer and Ann Arbor native Jill Carroll wrote the following story for the American Journalism Review. She writes about her ambitions and the chilling reality that foreigners in Iraq, including journalists, face every day -- the threat of kidnapping and execution. This is an edited version of her story that appeared under the title "What a way to make a living."

The cubicle walls are closing in. You'd rather jump off a cliff than cover one more zoning board meeting and just when one of the biggest stories in years is developing in Iraq, those foreign correspondent aspirations seem ever further out of reach.

There's only one way out: pull up stakes, clean out that savings account and get on a plane to Baghdad. It may sound like lunacy, but that's precisely what dozens of journalists have done. The result is a motley group of freelance reporters taking up residence in Baghdad's seediest hotelsincluding a former brotheland churning out stories on shoestring budgets in a country the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the most dangerous in the world for journalists...

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Dennis Anderson, Editor & Publisher - A tribute to Jill Carroll:

I am in mourning over the Jill Carroll abduction, as I imagine all thoughtful journalists are. It is terrible, and it is sad, and it reminds me that at the Los Angeles bureau of the Associated Press, for eight years, a day did not go by without somebody mentioning the plight of kidnapped reporter Terry Anderson. Now it is Jill Carroll who deserves our hopes and prayers. Iraqi terrorist abductors seem to revel in the capture and kill of unicorns. Unicorns are those rare, gentle creatures who come to that pitiless landscape looking to do good and fall prey to the forces of evil.