Monday, April 03, 2006


Last week I had the distinct pleasure of hearing a young video journalist, Tara Sutton, share her story about working in war torn countries.

A heavy topic and some of the clips from her documentaries were hard to take over lunch. Yet we all need to face up to what is happening in other parts of the world; to the injustices and to the hidden truth behind the headlines.

Tara talked about how in North America we tend to honour and value celebrities, but in her travels she has met some individuals, she feels are more worthy of our admiration and respect.

Take the little boy she met in Ethiopia, who at eight, walked miles with his six-month old sister, so they could find food and comfort after their parents died of AIDS. He was a hero in her eyes.

As Tara shared her stories, you could not help but admire her courage, tenacity and honesty as she told it as it is. She is one of a growing number of freelance videographers operating in the Middle East, going to areas where the mainstream media are reluctant to send their crews.

Freelancers are usually self-funded, often have no insurance and no large corporation to back them up if they are captured or injured, and yet she continues. She shoots, reports and produces all her own work and has won numerous awards.

"Seeing things blow up and people being shot has never been what's interested me. The human story is always what I've been interested in." And you can see that, particularly in her feature Baghdad Kids where she interviews children to find out how they feel about the fighting in their country.

I left that luncheon in awe of this young woman, proud that she is Canadian, and once more, impressed with the integrity and skills our young women have to offer us.

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