Ode to Mani

February 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Pixie News


Buenos Dias mi angelitos.

And what a beautiful day it is. The sky is still half asleep, and it’s completely silent apart from the sound of my broken computer fan whizzing away. It’s been such a long time since I was last able to write freely without any kind of instruction… I can’t tell you how good it feels!


As a multimedia journalism student, I’ve struggled through hard news; become a bakewell tart recluse as a result of doing video and radio script… and even winged my way through Spanish numeracy (FYI, I don’t understand maths in English). No matter how much I adore university, I miss having the freedom to tap out articles in any style, in any language and at any time.

So… here I am, invading my website with mini blog posts about two of my favourite fields outside of travel journalism; war, natural disasters and anything in between.

There are so many things that astound me (and destroy me) about these areas of journalism. But what amazes me the most, is the people behind those giant foamy microphones, canons and smart phones. Sure, there are some pretty talented fashion, sports and political journalists in existence; I have no doubts about that. But for me, nothing quite compares to the passion of a war correspondent or a disasters reporter. No matter what roles they are playing or what tools they are playing with- be it traditional broadcasting, social networking or filming- they succeed at being something collectively.


In my eyes, they are media heroes.

One of my biggest inspirations is actually Mani, the French photojournalist who smuggled into Syria to cover a great amount of the war zone last year. The footage and the level of reporting that he was able to send home was ridiculous; he gathered it from the middle of a gunning demonstration, yards away from Syrian soldiers. Nobody in the media industry can deny that Mani is a fantastic photojournalist. Anyone with a beating heart is unable to deny that Mani is a brave soul and an irreplaceable asset in the name of justice.

Mani is not Mani because he knows how to achieve mind blowing footage in impossible scenarios.

Mani is Mani because he knows how to push himself as a journalist and because he knows no boundaries.

Word gets around that the Syrians are shooting any foreign media that dares to walk among them in their cities. That’s no problem for Mani; he throws on a headscarf and learns how to be a Syrian. Citizens are being penetrated left, right and centre in alleyways near their homes. Mani mingles with soldiers, who could merrily turn around and shoot him dead at any given moment, to gather the footage of the alleyway massacre.

It’s people like Mani that make me proud to be in the industry. He makes me want to throw on a headscarf and learn how to be a Syrian. But for now… I am a mere multimedia student in a warm student room. My deadlines consist of academic essays and politics presentations… but just `for now`. The day that I am able to be an eighth of the journalist that Mani is, is one that I can’t wait to fulfil.

Oh, and how could I forget?

Mani’s news report, `Horror in Homs`, which featured all of the raw footage from the Syrian cities, won the 2012 Foreign Press Association award as well as the 2013 Royal Television Society award.

Enough said, really.


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