Monday, October 20, 2008
Motherhood and journalism
Tonight, I'm heading to the 12th annual Association for Research on Mothering conference at York University in Toronto. I'm looking forward to returning to Canada, my homeland! York is where my dad did his postdoctoral work and I have happy preschool memories of sitting on our apartment floor scribbling on York University examination booklets.
The theme of the conference is "Mothering, Violence, Militarism, War and Social Justice". I'm very excited about it as the conference program includes researchers, activists and mothers from all over the world.
My presentation, "Mighty Hearts, Mighty Wombs: Relating to Mariane Pearl from the Perspective of a Journalist/Mother-to-Be" describes my experience as a freelance journalist covering the memorial service of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter captured and brutally killed in Pakistan six years ago. Representing People Magazine, I was four months pregnant then. In the essay, I examine my own emotional response to the situation and relate to Pearl’s then pregnant widow, Mariane.
The essay questions the notion of objectivity in journalism. Is objectivity a realistic goal for journalists linked by universal experiences – life, death, joy, tragedy? Is emotion a liability? Where does the female experience, or the mothering experience, belong in journalism?