Award-winning journalist, author to speak at Lakeland Commencement
Academics - posted on 3/30/2006
Jackie Spinner, one of the nation's most gifted young journalists and the author of a newly-published memoir about her experience covering the war in Iraq, will be the speaker at Lakeland College's 144th Commencement.
Lakeland's annual commencement ceremony is set for Sunday, May 7, at the college's Todd Wehr Athletic Center beginning at 2 p.m.
Spinner has enjoyed a swift rise to prominence in her profession, moving from summer intern at The Washington Post in 1995 to her arrival in Iraq in May 2004 as the junior member of the Washington Post bureau staff to serving as the Post's Baghdad bureau chief.
These days, she often spends as much time answering questions as she does asking them.
A few hours after news Thursday that American journalist Jill Carroll had been released after being held captive for three months in Iraq, Spinner, a friend of Carroll who survived her own kidnapping attempt outside of Abu Ghraib prison, spent the day giving interviews, including an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."
In her first book, "Tell Them I Didn't Cry," which was published in February, Spinner reveals the contemporary challenges of reporting news in war-torn Iraq, a place where danger and fear accompany journalists everywhere.
The book delves into the difficulties of being a woman in a country where women are not free, and where most of the other journalists are men; of the Iraqi staff who became her family, close friends and colleagues; of disillusioning negative responses from Post readers in the States; and of becoming all too accustomed to mortars and car bombs, body guards and flak jackets.
Spinner has appeared on CNN's Larry King Live, MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews, contributed to PBS, BBC, ABC and National Public Radio and was featured in a PBS Frontline documentary on reporting the war in Iraq.
Spinner's book also features brief vignettes from Jackie's identical twin sister, Jenny, that offer a window into families waiting and worrying at home, as well as an epilogue about Jackie's return to Iraq in the fall of 2005 to cover the trial of Saddam Hussein.
It brings to life a reporter's exhilarating story of nine months covering the war from its center - in Baghdad, Fallujah, Kurdistan and Abu Ghraib - and being transformed, eventually, from rookie correspondent into a seasoned foreign reporter.
At age 35, Spinner is the youngest commencement speaker in Lakeland College's history.
Spinner was a co-winner of the 2005 Distinguished International Reporting award from the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. Before working at the Post, Spinner contributed to the Oakland Tribune, the San Diego Tribune and the Los Angeles Times TV magazine.
A native of Illinois who now lives in Maryland, Spinner earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and her master's degree at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. She is a member of the Journalism and Women's Symposium and was a media fellow at Duke University in 2002.
For more information about Spinner and her book, visit her website www.tellthemididnotcry.com.
Lakeland's commencement ceremony is open to the public. Anyone attending the live ceremony must have a ticket, which can be obtained free of charge by contacting Deb Fale at 920-565-1536. A limited number of tickets for the general public are available, and will be given out on a first come, first served basis.
The ceremony will be broadcast live and can be viewed on a projection screen in the Moose & Dona Woltzen Gymnasium in the Wehr Center. Tickets are not needed to watch the broadcast, which is also open to the public.
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