TVNewser FishbowlDC AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

LAT Reporter Returns from Syria

After many months of waiting, the Los Angeles Times was able to secure visa approval into Syria for reporter Alexandra Zavis. She was only allowed in for ten days; could not bring in any satellite equipment or laptops; and was accompanied everywhere by minders.

Zavis has now safely returned to Lebanon. As she tells colleague Emily Alpert, there were other obstacles to being able to cover an already tenuous and very dangerous corner of the world:

“Many people were afraid to be seen talking to us in case they would be questioned later. Conversations in shops and restaurants were often short and furtive. Meetings with opposition activists turned into cloak-and-dagger affairs. We would start out in one taxi, switch to another. An intermediary would meet us at a busy traffic circle. No eye contact would be made. We would then follow the person down winding alleys, keeping several paces behind so that it would not look like we were together.”

When venturing away from Damascus, Zavis says she wore a helmet, bullet-proof vest and comfortable shoes in case she had to make a run for it. To read the complete Q&A, click here.

[Illustration: BladeBorge/Shutterstock.com]

Mediabistro Course

Personal Essay Writing

Personal Essay WritingStarting October 28, work with a published journalist to draft, edit, and sell your first-person essays! Jessica Olien will help you to workshop your writing so that it's ready to pitch to editors. You'll learn how to tell your personal story, self-edit you work to assess voice, style, and tone, and sell your essays for publication. Register now!