Freelancer on the Front Lines

Freelancer on the Front Lines

Santiago Bertolino | 
Canada |
 2016 | 
96 minutes


Journalism is many things, the majority of which have nothing to do with writing. As a journalist, researching, tweeting, emailing, budgeting, pitching, re-pitching and mourning rejected pitches take up the bulk of your time. Jesse Rosenfeld, a freelance Canadian journalist based in the Middle East, knows this routine well. So well, he can do it under sniper fire. Rosenfeld is a 32-year-old veteran of Middle Eastern news coverage. From Egypt’s post-Arab Spring elections, to Israel’s “Apartheid Road,” to Turkey’s sprawling Syrian refugee camps, Rosenfeld moves swiftly between countries and areas of conflict as stories surface. Freelancer on the Front Lines tells the story of how news stories are told.

In Cairo, we see Al Jazeera journalists in a cage — denied their freedom for speaking truth to power. Rosenfeld knows he’s far from Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. Being jailed is one concern, the other he attempts to solve by factoring a bullet-proof vest into his trip budget. As a freelancer, Rosenfeld isn’t assigned stories. Half his time is spent persuading editors to back him, persuading fixers to take him into the front lines, and persuading his parents that he is, in fact, safe and sound after standing next to a truck in Iraq with dead bodies hogtied to its bumper. But in the end, the risk and the tedium are all worth it for Rosenfeld. His work sheds light on Western policy implications in the Middle East. More than just informing his readers of disturbing events, Rosenfeld hopes to evoke real change through his writing. And while he waits for that change, there’s always another front line to chase, and with each new front line, a certain undeniable thrill. -AB

Justice Forum Panelist

Laura Lynch

Laura Lynch has covered Canada and the world for more than twenty years, being recognized both at home and abroad for her work. She has been the CBC's correspondent based in London and in Washington DC. In both posts, she covered stories that marked crucial moments in world history: the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and their aftermath, the invasion of Afghanistan, the fallout in Pakistan, the bombings of transport systems in London and Madrid. In Africa, Laura went undercover to report on what was happening inside Zimbabwe at a time when journalists were barred from the country. She has also spent time in the Middle East, most recently in Syria and Iran. Since her return to Canada in 2012, Laura has been a regular guest host on The Current, As it Happens and The Sunday Edition. She has won many awards for her work, receiving the prestigious Nieman fellowship for Harvard University, an award from the British Bar Association for a two part documentary series that aired on the BBC World Service, as well as recognition from Amnesty International, the Overseas Press Club in New York and the Gabriel awards. Laura earned a law degree from the University of Victoria and holds a journalism degree from Carleton University. She was born and raised in Vancouver.