PLEDGE NOW
Freelance In Africa: A Young Reporter’s Story

We go to Congo with a young journalist who lived and reported there and look at how we get our foreign news today.

In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, two wooden coffins, center rear, of the bodies of Congolese soldiers that were killed in an Thursday's ambush, are moved to an airstrip to be flown to Kinshasa, from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo. (AP)

In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, two wooden coffins, center rear, of the bodies of Congolese soldiers that were killed in an Thursday’s ambush, are moved to an airstrip to be flown to Kinshasa, from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo. (AP)

Anjan Sundaram was a grad student with his head down.  Studying, going through the paces, pursuing the American dream.  And one day he thought – this isn’t where the world is at.  This isn’t at the heart of what’s going on.  I need to get out of here.  And he did.  To Congo.  The heart of Africa.  A great, chaotic battlefield.  He declared himself a freelance journalist, and went.  He was mystified.  Overwhelmed.  Robbed.  Poor.  But he learned.  And began filing news stories.  Stories you may have read.  Now he tells the whole story.  This hour On Point:  Going freelance, to Congo, Africa, with a young now-journalist who just did it.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Anjan Sundaram, freelance journalist and author of “Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo.” (@anjansun)

Christopher Dickey, foreign editor for The Daily Beast. (@csdickey)

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR: Finding Your Feet in the Chaos Of Congo — “In journalism, a stringer is a freelance reporter or photographer who gets paid on the basis of each story or picture sold. So, much of the time there’s no regular salary, no living allowance, and often, no travel subsidy. It’s a tough way to make a living; especially since the competition in a major market like New York or London is prohibitively fierce. The trick for a young journalist is to find a location rich in material but light on the competitive side; the more poverty-stricken, dirty, corrupt and dangerous, the better. ”

Columbia Journalism Review: Woman’s work — “But whether you’re writing from Aleppo or Gaza or Rome, the editors see no difference. You are paid the same: $70 per piece. Even in places like Syria, where prices triple because of rampant speculation. So, for example, sleeping in this rebel base, under mortar fire, on a mattress on the ground, with yellow water that gave me typhoid, costs $50 per night; a car costs $250 per day. So you end up maximizing, rather than minimizing, the risks.”

POLITICO Magazine: The Darling Tyrant –– “The thing to know about Rwandan President Paul Kagame is not just that he is a dictator responsible for human rights abuses but that, despite this, he has a great many friends. Kagame, credited with commanding the rebel force that put an end to Rwanda’s genocide 20 years ago, has made himself a global celebrity. Bill Clinton hails him as among ‘the greatest leaders of our time.’ Tony Blair calls him a ‘visionary.’ Bill Gates works closely with him. Kagame has spoken at Harvard and received honorary doctorates from a number of universities in the United States and Europe.”

Read An Excerpt From “Stringer” By Andaram Sundaram

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 9, 2016
Host Tom Ashbrook and producer Sarah Platt speak to supporters of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) outside the candidate's Manchester, N.H. campaign headquarters on Monday, February 8, 2016. (Katherine Brewer / WBUR)

We’re live in New Hampshire for the first in the nation primary day, with all the latest on how the big vote is shaping up.

Feb 9, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at a Rotary Club luncheon in Manchester, N.H., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

From New Hampshire, a deep dive, from Trump to Sanders, on how the candidates would approach the U.S. economy.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 8, 2016
Legendary film critic  Roger Ebert in an archival image from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Flickr / WikiCommons)

The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.

 
Feb 8, 2016
Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #6: Bernie v. Hillary — The Electability Debate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Bill and Betty are not real New Hampshire voters. But their arguments about the Democratic race for President most certainly are.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #5: Ted Cruz — The Advocate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Texas Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is an impassioned advocate, Jack Beatty writes — but mostly for himself above all others.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment