For international journalists, risk is part of the job

Many people read stories about terrorism and other conflicts abroad without realizing the hard work and risk involved in covering the stories. Anshika Misra covers these events for a living.

Misra, a journalist from India, has covered numerous high-profile events. She reported on the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008, and the subsequent trial of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole terrorist captured alive in the attack. She also covered the long trial related to the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai.

<p>Misra outside a courtroom where the trial of 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai was held. Since there were 123 accused and it would require tremendous security to transport them to the court for a hearing, the courtroom itself was shifted inside the jail." (Photo courtesy: Anshika Misra)</p>
Misra outside a courtroom where the trial of 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai was held." (Photo courtesy: Anshika Misra)

“With 123 accused in the conspiracy, it took the trial court more than 14 years to wrap up the case,” Misra said. “One hundred people were found guilty, of which 12 were sentenced to death.”

Misra is one of 10 journalists from the World Press Institute who are visiting the U.S. to learn about U.S. journalism. There will be a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the OEC auditorium, which will be moderated by Kris Bunton, chair of the communication and journalism department.

The WPI “bring[s] 10 journalists each year from around the world to the United States to experience the complexities of U.S. life through the prism of a reporter working under First Amendment conditions,” according to the WPI website. This year’s journalists are from Afghanistan, Argentina, China, Egypt, Finland, Hungary, India, Macedonia, Nigeria and Turkey.

The journalists spent three weeks at St. Thomas in August and the first part of September, and they spent the last month traveling across the country to visit different cities and news organizations. Their stops have included San Francisco, Sacramento, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami and Chicago.

Senay Yildiz, a journalist from Turkey, said there are some significant differences between how journalists use technology in the U.S. and in her home country.

“American journalism is so much [more] technology focused, but ours is not,” Yildiz said. “We are still operating with pretty traditional methods, because not many people back home are actually using technology and Internet as you do here.”

Misra also noticed the different ways American journalists use technology.

“I have found American journalism to be more multimedia oriented,” Misra said. “In India, news organizations have introduced multimedia to its readers and audiences, but it’s not on the same scale as here.”

Yildiz said she finds it interesting how journalists in the U.S. cooperate with one another.

“In Turkey everything is based on competition and there is no such thing called journalistic cooperation,” Yildiz said. “I can also say that we do care about ‘star journalists,’ but here journalists do care about the quality of their work.”

The WPI “fosters understanding among international journalists about the role and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy and promotes excellence in journalism,” according to the WPI website. It was founded in 1961 at Macalester College and 500 journalists have participated in the program since its inception.

The WPI panel discussion is hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Communication and Journalism Department. Tickets are not required for this event.

Dan Cook can be reached at