Southern California sighed with great sadness when radio host and USC lecturer Maria Armoudian moved to teach political science at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Thankfully, Armoudian is back in town promoting her latest book, Reporting From the Danger Zone: Frontline Journalists, Their Jobs, and an Increasingly Perilous Future with a stop in Long Beach.
Armoudian still broadcasts The Scholars' Circle on KPFK-LA 90.7 FM and other community radio stations from afar, but fans can catch her in person speaking about how the Internet ruined another aspect of journalism: war reporting. Armoudian delves into how the industry has changed for correspondents who used to serve as conduits between militant groups, terrorist leaders, and governments in times of conflict.
With social media, many on-the-ground dispatches from conflict zones are being uploaded by civilians and rebel groups alike—albeit without the same journalistic vetting and integrity. With media institutions already in decline, few are willing to invest in war reporting at a time when the frontlines are becoming more dangerous with groups like Islamic State beheading journalists for propaganda videos. News agencies are increasingly becoming unwilling or unable to send reporters into the eye of the storm or rely on the work of freelancers.
What will become of journalism's bravest, then? Armoudian interviewed 35 danger zone reporters to find out their experiences of getting the most important stories out in a time when the media landscape is changing so rapidly. Armoudian last came around these parts in 2011 with her first book Kill the Messenger: The Media's Role in the Fate of the World (not to be confused with our own Nick Schou's Kill the Messenger, with dealt with the late, great investigative reporter Gary Webb). Don't miss her this weekend when she visits Long Beach for a book talk on her latest work. See you there!
Maria Armoudian at Hellada Gallery, 117 Linden Avenue, Long Beach, 90802. Sun. 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.