On the road back from Iraq

Helen Tracey, Helen Tracey, and Helen Tracey

Journalist Kevin McKiernan has reported from some of the most dangerous regions on three continents, and now he’s coming to speak at City College Oct. 10 from 3-5 p.m. in room A211.

McKiernan, who is also a photojournalist, has reported from over 40 countries such as Mexico, Mongolia, Turkey, and Northern Ireland.

Recently, McKiernan has been working for ABC News and reporting from Kurdish and Arab provinces about the Iraq War and the Kurdish tribe’s desire for independence.

During his speech at City College, McKiernan plans to focus on his reporting in Iraq with the Kurds, but will also focus on how journalism has changed over the last 30 years he has been in the field.

McKiernan said he plans to lead off with a quote from writer Graham Greene: “Media is a word for bad journalism.”

“I agree with this. The ‘media’ gives journalism a bad reputation,” McKiernan said. “It waters down the news and makes issues like Lindsay Lohan and Guantanamo Bay the same. I actually think people are more interested in her.”

McKiernan will also touch upon his experience with the 1973 Native American rights standoff at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

McKiernan, who is now based in Santa Barbara, has reported and shot for Time, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Los Angeles Times. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 and has recently authored a book in 2006, “The Kurds: A People in Search of a Homeland.”

McKiernan also wrote, directed and produced an award-winning 2001 documentary for PBS called “Good Kurds, Bad Kurds” which has been shown at various film festivals across the globe. The documentary details the Kurds and their fight for independence in Iraq and Turkey-issues that have been under the mass media’s radar.

In 1990, McKiernan also wrote and co-produced a documentary about Native Americans and their struggle to survive in South Dakota called “The Spirit of Crazy Horse.” The documentary mainly focuses on the military conflicts the Sioux Indians encountered between 1960 and 1970 with the U.S. federal government.

After speaking at UCSB, Harvard, and Dartmouth, McKiernan said that he was “quite honored to be invited to speak” at City College. McKiernan said that he was attracted by the proposed School of Media Arts building, which is to be started in 2009 and completed by 2011.

“[City College] has amazing resources for media and will really be the hub for the other California community colleges,” McKiernan said.