Kevin Sites book: Yay or Nay? And weigh in on Watchmen

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You’ve been spared an assignment deconstructing the Kevin Sites book. However, hopefully it helped inspire and/or teach you a few things about what it takes to be a mo-jo. (That’s mobile journalist and gee, no one even says that anymore. I am old).

In any event I’d be interested in hearing what you thought of the book. (Recommended reading? Waste of time?) So post here.

And in the interest of keeping this blog alive in between quarters — and keeping us communicating — weigh in on your thoughts on Watchmen. I teach so I can learn things from you students so here’s a chance to opine.

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5 responses to “Kevin Sites book: Yay or Nay? And weigh in on Watchmen

  1. I really liked the Sites book–I started it on the bus home from the bookstore, and was immediately swept up by the spirit of adventure and determination Sites exhibits in his travels (and travails finding money and airtime for those travels). I didn’t always agree with the ethical decisions he made, but the book provided useful insight into his reasoning. I loved the anectdotes (particularly when his camera is stolen by some children, and later a colleague sends him a photo of some children in the same region holding a sign that says, “Hey Kevin, thanks for the camera!” Classic). And it was great to see the day-to-day challenges of a freelance journalist working in foreign and often hostile environments. Plus his prose is great; he’s got talent and/or training as a creative writer.

  2. Sarah Greenleaf

    I also loved this book and that it didn’t romanticize war and conflict reporting. Sites does a great job being personal – talking about how his experiences made him feel and how they started to wear on him. The aspects of the financial and business side of journalism was touched on briefly, but the questions he raised were great ones – ones I am still thinking about. I wish we had discussed this book in class; I found it very valuable and enlightening.

  3. I found the book to be engaging and insightful and always turned to it when I had reading for my other classes to do…something about it was more enticing than my technical communication research paper or projects. I even chose to do a project for my International Localization course on Myanmar based solely on reading this book. That said, however, I think it would be best reserved for a class on journalism ethics or the topic of embedded journalism, not necessarily digital journalism. Though it dabbles some in his ventures as an online reporter, it is really focused on the life and circumstances that surround a sojo in foreign countries. This course has largely been a skills course, which I absolutely love. While this book is a nice compliment the content we learned, I think perhaps a book about photojournalism or videography (or excerpts from books) would be more applicable.

  4. Sites is a great writer and I think I would read his book even if it wasn’t assigned for a class. The short stories he told were great illustrations for his experience. I think I agree with Amy that the book was not really about skills, (as the course was), but more about his travels abroad. However, his decision to break away from a mainstream news source and go it on his own with a Web site is really what we’re seeing journalists do now. His work was truly a beginning of the current movement.

  5. I’m currently on the section discussing of the book and have loved every minute of reading it (I agree with James – the part where his camera was stolen was one of my favorites). Coincidentally the essay for my Foreign Intrigue scholarship application fit directly into what Sites was discussing in his book so I found it to be even more helpful for that.
    As for Watchmen – thought it was a great movie, especially when seeing it in the IMAX. Great, but not spectacular…written for the fan of the graphic novel, although it featured stunning cinematography as well.

    favorite quote from the book, “It must be the same for me. I need to begin each day hammering and hammering until the world becomes countries, the countries the countries become people, the people become stories, the stories become understanding. The world of stories small enough for me to move them on my laptop and around the world.”

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