The Stark Awfulness Of Conflict Journalism

“There’s an awful word that Western media folk sometimes use to describe my kind of journalism that’s meant to be flattering but always makes me cringe precisely because it expresses so well this gap between audience and subject, and the conflict therein. The word is “humanizing.” By my own standards, if my article has succeeded, if I’ve done what I set out to do, I have to some degree “humanized” a situation—a conflict, a crisis—for the reader. But of course the subject doesn’t feel any more human for the experience; the subject, in most cases, doesn’t even realize he’s been made more human in the eyes of the subscribers to the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine.”