Reflection – Martin Bell

Martin bell OBE was well known for been an independent MP in 1997. He also was a former war reporter and broadcaster. In his career he travelled to over 102 countries and reported in over 80 of them. He is also a British ambassador for UNICEF.

Bells most famous war reporting was in Vietnam, Bosnia and many others. When broadcasting/ reporting he is well known for wearing a white shirt. The white top made him stand out from the soldiers. Bells journalist career became prominent in 1962 when he joined the BBC as a reporter. This was local news. After a few years Bell moved to London.

He challenged the style of embedded journalism. Embedded journalists would have worn the same of the soldiers to blend themselves in. This is dangerous in itself, I believe that Bells technique was really brave as it made him stand out more. This could have made him an easier target. Embedding reporters is really common in conflicts and to break that style can be incredibly powerful and make a name for the reporter. Bell is a great example of that. In order for him to adopt this style of broadcasting he had to have a translator and a camera man. This meant that there were few people involved and so that he could understand the different language barriers.

Martin Bell often revert his reports back to people giving the situation a human outlook on what was happening. This was often what we don’t see back home. For instance, whilst reporting in Bosnia at the village of Ahmici, He shows viewers families, children and friends. This made the reporting much more personal and gave the report a humanised element. This for me provokes emotions in others as that could have been there children or families. It really makes you think about those close to you. As well I think bell touches upon those ideologies of moral panic. This is seen within the reporting as it also showed how many people were affected by conflict, soldiers on battlefields and military forces, people firing weapons and destroyed buildings.

In the session we watched a YouTube video. It was an Interview on Martin Bells career at The Frontline Club, 2011. There where interesting facts and really told the hardworking man’s long career.

Martin Bell revealed that the first story he did wasn’t the best as he didn’t take it serious. He mentioned how he would spend all day writing and working on a 60 second script so he could report back to viewers what was happening. When he was given his first assignment in Vietnam, he stated he didn’t show any Vietnamese civilians and only showed one side to the action. Only the American military were showcased.

Later on in the video he talks about his guilt as he blames himself for one of his translators been killed. He feels the guilt as he got the young man involved in his work. Personally, I wouldn’t blame bell at all the young man knew the harsh and dangerous world he was involved in. it was just a horrific tragedy.

As a practitioner of becoming a journalist, I feel Martin Bell is a good inspiration as he showcases that you can stand out from the crowd and achieve if not more than others. His style is admirable as he pushes the boundaries and takes risks. Bell really gets close to the action on what he is reporting this meant that he could give the latest of what’s happening. He also showcase that you can have a long and successful career if you work hard.

 

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