First, the good news. I have it from the highest source, (UN press officer) that journalists are exempt from the curfew. Apparently we are ‘essential’ personnel and our movements should not be restricted. So big ‘hoorays’ from the bar owners of Dili.
Now the bad news. Australian journalists have to be the worst dressed news-gatherers I have ever encountered so I’ve decided to help them out with a few ‘conflict zone’ fashion tips. Recent events have understandably changed the life-styles of many people in Dili but this is no reason to stop dressing in an appropriate and tasteful manner.
Camera-operators: Whilst baggy ‘Hot Tuna’ shorts and t-shirts are comfortable and appropriate for running around in the heat and mud chasing APC’s and rebels you may well be called on in the next minute to shoot an interview with a Prime Minister or visiting dignitary. Shorts and t-shirts are too informal for this sort of job. Also the floppy hat only looks good on the GNR.
Correspondents: First of all, synthetics are a big no-no. This is a hot and humid place and unsightly stains on a piece-to-camera are liable to put viewers off their tea. Also denim. Jeans only look good on teenagers. Ditch those faded blue numbers and go for a nice pair of chinos instead. Oh and ladies, jeans + heat + ‘ride-up’ = A very unsavory sight.
I would say the best option for most on-camera correspondents would be to try and use Adrian Brown of Channel 7 as a role model.
Photographers: We all saw the pool snapper who came over with the Rudd entourage yesterday. This is NOT a good look. It’s the ‘I really wish these cameras were guns’ look. A utility belt Batman would have envied, camera jacket festooned with bits and pieces hanging off, wraparound sunnies, cargo pants with pockets bulging and of course everything, absolutely everything, was black. Every time he looked at me I didn’t know whether to smile and say ‘cheese’ or put my hands up and surrender. So, snappers. The ‘Rambo’ look is not on. Not only can it be dangerous, it makes you look like a total dork.
The perfect ensemble from the feet up: Doc Marten shoes, black. Very comfortable, hard wearing and acceptable in formal situations. Dark trousers made of good strong cotton. Plain t-shirt tucked into trousers. Good cotton/linen/silk dress shirt worn unbuttoned and outside the trousers. There are practical reasons for this look. The t-shirt soaks up the sweat when ‘in the field’ and the shirt can be buttoned up and tucked in for those for formal interviews and PTC’s. Accessories: I find the Gerber multi-tool the best of the bunch. The Gerber wins over the Leatherman because of the handy corkscrew. Essential.
So, lets all take a closer look at ourselves and smarten up a bit. God knows you can all afford it. Remember, there is a world outside of Tar-get and army surplus stores.
A nice piece at this link.