Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent Mary Fitzgerald will report on “the most fascinating, moving and inspiring story” of her career as a journalist on Thursday (April 18), during a Global Center for Journalism and Democracy presentation.
The lecture, “Target! Journalists,” will begin at 7 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.
Her presentation will focus on the extraordinary wave of revolutions and uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East since spring 2011 and the impact that’s had on journalists, as well as the risks and rewards of the profession.
Since November 19 journalists have been killed covering the conflict in Syria, labeled the most dangerous place on Earth for the press right now.
“Students often forget how dangerous reporting can be,” said Kelli Arena, executive director of the GCJD. “Mary, herself, was targeted, along with others by the Syrian government. She gives a sobering account of how real the threat is.
“Her appearance is very timely and relevant. The situation in Syria is continuing to worsen,” Arena said. “Journalists can't get in, but she is one of the few journalists who was able to get in and report on what she saw with her own eyes.”
To enter Syria, Fitzgerald teamed up with rebel forces, as the Syrian government still bans most journalists from entering, and trudged through muddy fields in the middle of the night with only the moon to light her way.
She walked for hours, crawled through barbed-wire fences, and sneaked past government checkpoints; everything she needed, she had to carry on her back, according to Arena.
“Journalists like Mary tell stories the regime doesn't want told,” Arena said.
Fitzgerald began her career reporting on Northern Ireland before relocating to the Middle East.
Now based in Dublin, she works across the Middle East, Africa and south Asia, reporting from countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Her work has appeared in several publications including Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, and the Guardian. In 2004, she was awarded the Laurence Stern Fellowship at the Washington Post and in 2006 was awarded the Irish Times’ inaugural Douglas Gageby Fellowship.
Fitzgerald takes a particular interest in the dynamics shaping Muslim-majority countries.
In 2011, she spent several months in Libya during the country’s revolution and has also reported from northern Syria on the bloody uprising against Bashar al-Assad. She is currently researching Libya’s Islamist landscape for a forthcoming book on the Libyan revolution and its aftermath to be published by Oxford University Press.
Fitzgerald is a frequent contributor to international broadcast media, including the BBC, CBS News and Ireland’s state broadcaster RTÉ. She has worked on a number of award-winning radio documentaries for the BBC, one of which won a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award.
Her presentation is free and open to the public.