April 23, 2024

Event Coverage Highlight

Book Night: ‘No Ordinary Assignment’ – With Jane Ferguson

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Jane Ferguson has covered some of the biggest war stories of recent years. She won the OPC’s Peter Jennings Award in 2021 for her coverage on PBS NewsHour of the fall of Afghanistan. Her reporting on Yemen earned an Emmy, a George Polk Award and an Alred I. du Pont Columbia Award.

No Ordinary Assignment starts with her childhood in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and moves on to chronicle her experiences reporting in numerous conflict zones. “Without family wealth or connections, she began as a scrappy one-woman reporting team, a borrowed camera often her only equipment,” says the Amazon review. “Networks told her she had the wrong accent, the wrong appearance, not enough ‘bang-bang shoot-‘em-up.’ Still, Ferguson threw herself into harm’s way time and again, determined to give voice to civilian experiences of war.”

Ferguson told the OPC her memoir is “a deep look at what shapes someone in their early lives to pursue this work, and then what happens to that person when they are out in the world at some of its roughest moments, trying to do the job well while being the complicated, flawed, passionate human beings that we are. So, I could say it’s a book about what it takes to become a war reporter and then what it does to that person as they do the work.”

Kirkus Reviews gave the book its Kirkus Star, which marks books of exceptional merit, calling the book “A captivating, honest, and powerful attempt to do justice to the hardest stories to tell.”

Elizabeth Becker, author of You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War, will moderate the discussion. Becker won the Sperber Book Prize and Harvard’s Goldsmith Book Prize for her book, which was featured in an OPC program in 2021.

No Ordinary Assignment is for sale on Amazon here.