October 19th, 2011 | Magazine

International journalist visits Pierson

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Photo by YDN.

Comfortably reclining in an armchair in Pierson college, dressed in a blazer and blue jeans, Jim Sciutto ’92 looked every inch a dashing and worldly foreign correspondent. His job with ABC News has taken him from the desolate streets of terrorized Zimbabwe to jubilant crowds celebrating the demise of Mubarak in Tahrir Square. In the past seven years, his passport has been stamped in over 50 countries. At a Pierson Master’s tea last night, Sciutto discussed his feelings about contemporary issues plaguing the Middle East, the current stance of journalism, among other things.

Some quotes that stuck out to me:

“Journalism feels like a paid traveling education.”

“Revolutions are as much of a battle of ideas as weapons and drones.”

“It’s hard to kill one guy, and when you kill the one guy, democracy doesn’t always follow in its footsteps.”

“In the middle east, America has long been seen as a force of bad rather than good; being there humanizes this, lets you learn the history behind it.”

“It never takes too much to scratch below the surface and see similar priorities.”

“Separation breeds dissent; it makes you not see the common ground.”

“You can get jaded by the incredible cacophony of experiences—you just have to keep in mind where you are and what you are doing.”

“It is of value to record the wrongs being done.”

“The journalism world is not as bad as you think right now. Yes, it’s economically challenging, but technology gives young people a lot of new opportunities.”

Sciutto was charming, and his call for people to look beyond “caricatures” of their enemies and recognize a common ground on which everyone stands was particularly resonant. Sciutto spoke convincingly of his experience dealing with people from vastly different places who, nonetheless, shared common beliefs, common decency and common courage.