Janine di Giovanni: Reporters can be mothers too

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The Independent Online

I am on holiday in Greece this week with my seven-year-old son, but next week I am heading to Libya – despite the fact that my husband, a cameraman for France 2, was shot on Tuesday, filming at Gaddafi's compound. He was not badly injured. But he saw a lot of people killed that day. And he got it all on film.

Both of us love our son and are, we think, good parents. We had him late in life after we had reported war for more than a decade. I don't think the two things are inconsistent.

So I'm confused why Alex Crawford, a Sky News journalist who scooped everyone last week reporting from a pick-up truck, should get any flak. She was doing her job, and doing it extremely well. She is also the mother of four (a feat in itself).

Her reports from Tripoli are crucial because they bear witness, which is the heart of the matter in journalism. Men are never criticised for being fathers and working in war zones. I remember so many male colleagues telling me about missing their children, but no one questioned their choices. I even remember one reading a bedtime story to his sons over a satellite phone.

So give Crawford, an exemplary journalist, a break. She knows what she is doing. She was not taking unnecessary chances but doing her job. Her children, I'm sure, are incredibly proud of their mother. As we should be.

Janine di Giovanni's book 'Ghosts by Daylight: A Memoir Of Love And War' is published by Bloomsbury