Written by Clara Kieschnick-Llamas
Not so much an instructional session, freelance journalist Rebecca Byerly mainly discussed her career as an international crisis correspondent.
Byerly grew up in a town in North Carolina. She was inspired to become an international crisis journalist after 9/11: she wanted to report on Afghanistan.
Byerly went to study at American University, where she studied Peace and Conflict Resolution, with a focus on the Middle East and Africa.
Once she graduated, she pitched ideas to many different media organizations, getting rejected again and again. Eventually, she was connected with a man working in CNN, who picked up her feature story on the Wall of China Marathon. She went on to write about Cambodian elections and a 200 km race in Libya. Even though she was still a novice at the time, she said that, “If you have a good story, people will watch.”
Byerly mainly talked about her years in Kashmir, India. She was one of the only international correspondents there at the time, when violence was prominent. The Indian government could have taken her visa at any time, so she had to be careful when approaching sensitive topics. One such way was discussing Kashmir’s troubled period through soccer.
A workshop on the importance of perseverance, it was a huge success.