I’m finding the current series of articles, diary entries, photographs and video clips by Globe and Mail foreign correspondent Mark MacKinnon and freelance photographer Sean Gallagher on life in North Korea absolutely fascinating. It’s undercover reporting at its finest — illuminating, revealing, well-written and robustly illustrated.
I had the pleasure of getting to known MacKinnon on the days, during my tenure at the Globe, when I acted as a substitute assistant foreign editor. He was always a pleasure to deal with and his prose was unfailingly well-crafted and accessible. At that time, he was stationed in Jerusalem; he had earlier served as the newspaper’s correspondent in Moscow. MacKinnon is currently The Globe’s eyes and ears in Beijing.
I plan to make the series compulsory reading for my journalism classes this week. In addition to discussions about the qualities of feature writing, the series will undoubtedly provoke debate about journalism ethics, especially the uses and abuses of deception.
Watch for the MacKinnon-Gallagher series on the list of this year’s National Newspaper Awards nominations, as well as various online journalism competitions.