Here’s something I’m thankful for heading into tomorrow’s holiday.
Jinan Hussein, an Iraqi reporter and interpreter who worked for McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau over the past few years, is getting settled in the states. She’s a journalist just behind the byline of many stories out of our Baghdad shop that have appeared in The News Tribune.
I met Jinan in late 2008 on my first assignment in the bureau, which at the time occupied the third floor of a Baghdad hotel. I was fortunate to work with a half a dozen Iraqi reporters assembled through the war by former bureau chiefs Hannah Allam, Nancy Youssef and Leila Fadel. The Iraqi journalists on our staff went places we couldn’t go and shaped our understanding of the country. Jinan was exceptionally bold and unafraid to let her feelings show as she hit the city streets to dig up information. I know I couldn’t have done my job without a local staff of dedicated journalists like Jinan who were determined to tell Iraq’s story as they lived it.
As my former colleague Corinne Reilly writes in the Virginia Pilot:
“They say adversity can breed fast friendships, and that was true for Jinan and me. I’d like to think it would have happened regardless of the war – if I’d been in Iraq to cover, say, the Olympics or a nation at peace. Of course, I’ll never know.
“They also say adversity brings out the best in people – or the worst. For Jinan, it was the former, and in the months we worked together she showed herself to be brave, adept and deeply compassionate.
“She was the best kind of journalist – willing to go almost anywhere for stories that needed to be told, especially those that brought to light the suffering of ordinary Iraqis who otherwise would not have a voice.”
Corinne is helping Jinan and her brother get settled in Virginia. Corinne also is chronicling “Jinan’s journey” for her newspaper. Check out the story here.