Joyce Davis: Three Decades Covering the Middle East

By Stuart, Reginald | The Crisis, May/June 2005 | Go to article overview

Joyce Davis: Three Decades Covering the Middle East


Stuart, Reginald, The Crisis


MEDIA

When Joyce Davis talks about her hometown of New Orleans, the distant lands of Iraq and Afghanistan, or the schisms between Christianity and Islam, it is with a sense of energy and passion that is contagious. You always walk away feeling you've only begun to tap into her world of knowledge and want to know more as she shares what she has seen, heard and learned at home and abroad over the past 30 years.

"I took a lot of philosophy courses in college," she says during a recent telephone interview. "I would be a more sedate, quiet person, if I had chosen to be a philosopher."

Davis chose another road - that of journalist and author. It has proved a rewarding career choice. She is a rare stamp in American society - a Black journalist whose recognized expertise is the Middle East and Muslim nations of Central Asia.

Today, more than three decades after launching her career as a night reporter at The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, 51-year-old Davis is associate director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). It is an important post with the powerful, broadcast news service funded by the U.S. government. Davis calls the shots daily on news reports and feature stories broadcast in 33 languages and beamed to an estimated 1.3 billion people across 12 time zones in 28 countries of oil-rich Central Asia and the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

From her offices at the heavily guarded RFE/RL headquarters in downtown Prague in the Czech Republic, Davis helps supervise a staff of 1,400 full- and part-time correspondents and editors around the globe and directly controls the work of about half the 700 reporters, editors and technicians. She helps them decide what and how to cover events today, next week and next month, and develops big-picture signature projects such as "Religion and Tolerance," a recent series that took a look at moderates in Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

"In this job, I can have an impact on people around the world being able to have information so they can make choices about politics, economics and religion," says Davis.

"Religion is being used to promote terrorism and violence," Davis explains, ticking off several examples in the regions and citing the most familiar in the United States - the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.

"When you have a single source on what Islam teaches - that message being that Islam says to kill - to inform people there are other viewpoints, other interpretations of Islam, is important," she explains. "It's not promoting or even telling people they need to be religious. It's promoting discussions to give them a variety of choices. Our role is to give objective news and information to closed societies."

Davis rebuffs anyone who would question her decision to join RFE/RL, which is viewed by many as a U.S. propaganda machine, after building a substantial career at traditional news outlets.

She says that while the public perception that the Cold War-era RFE was a lopsided news service with a proAmerican bent wasn't too far off base, it is no longer true. When she signed up, she says, the broadcaster was "trying to raise its standards and bring objective news and information to the Muslim world that was closed."

Davis continues: "I was brought in as a clear sign RFE/RL is changing. I have 35 years in this business. I would not have thrown that away."

With a number of "hot spots" on her radar, no day is just a routine day at the office. One day, as winter was slowly giving way to signs of spring in Prague, Davis was directing coverage of debates over the formation of the new Iraqi government and planning the series on religious tolerance. Suddenly, there was a full-scale revolution in Kyrgyzstan, forcing its president to flee to Russia.

"We were at the center of this story, as people fled to the streets and took over government buildings," she recalls. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Joyce Davis: Three Decades Covering the Middle East
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.