Foreign correspondent. Story teller. Sally Sara
This is a bit of a cheat because I didn’t write a post about this person by speaking to them. But since this blog is about reallyinterestingpeople, I couldn’t miss a mention of ABC foreign correspondent Sally Sara. Back in the day when I dreamed of being a great investigative journalist I set my admiring sights on Jana Wendt, who was so calm, so cool & controlled, so smart, and just so damned polished (I could not claim most of those).
Then I heard Sally’s reports. Saw her work on ABC TV. Thought deeply about what she was doing and I was in awe of her. She was so calm, so cool, so smart, so courageous and articulate. This was journalism that served the public interest. I confess, not for the first time, it was always my secret ambition to be a foreign correspondent but I was never fearless enough. Who knows. Maybe I thought about it too much.
The skill of the great foreign correspondent is to find the emblematic story that speaks of a strange or chaotic land, but still conveys the shared human experience. It makes us see what is different and yet draws us together. We cannot imagine what it might be like to find our homes and towns razed by war, but we can identify what grief is. We understand a little of despair. And so we connect. A little. And it expands our hearts. A little.
Sally Sara is back home somewhere in Australia now (who knows, I may just get the chance to actually write about her first hand). In fact, the impact of her foreign corro days on her (and the Canadian trauma surgeon she met in Afghanistan’s Kandahar field hospital) is the subject of a two part program by her Foreign Correspondent: Coming Home on ABC1. It aired last night (so available on iView) and part 2 next Tuesday. Read The Age journalist Amanda Meade’s story Foreign Correspondent Sally Sara opens up about traumatic experience in an Afghan military hospital published last night. And watch what Sally did. She’s incredible.