Ask author Sally Hayden responds to Topical Talkers!

For each Project, we give you the chance to ask questions to experts on the topic.

Meet Sally Hayden.

Sally is an award-winning journalist, author and photographer currently writing on migration, conflict and humanitarian crises. She wrote My Fourth Time, We Drowned, a book about the world's dangerous migration routes. We'll let Sally introduce herself...

Thank you very much to Sally for her excellent answers! You can read all of them in full in the comments below.

I think the best thing we can do as journalists is present the facts fairly and accurately so that readers can make up their own mind and not feel that we have an agenda. At the same stage, I think it is important to point out when human rights abuses are taking place and I believe a journalist can remain objective while still being clear about that.

Sally Hayden on journalists' responsibilities

Comments (27)

  • British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    14 Apr 2022

    Hello
    How did you feel when you wrote about refugees?

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    14 Apr 2022

    Do look for the information by yourself or with other people to assist you in case of danger?
    For example, if you're in the middle of the Ukraine and Russian wars, you will need some agents to help you from dangers.

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    14 Apr 2022

    Hello dear: Sally (1) What is the secret behind your passion and tendencies as a journalist in investigating conflicts and humanitarian crises? (2) Was defining yourself as a journalist with the presence of the phone and camera hindering or facilitating the investigation process in such cases?

    Reply to this comment
    1. Sally Hayden EXPERT: Sally Hayden
      aware_painting's comment 13 May 2022

      Thank you for your questions. 1) I did not start out wanted to report on migration, conflict or humanitarian crises, in university I actually was known for interviewing and profiling musicians. But after I started working as a news journalist in 2014 in London I began to meet many refugees and people who came from countries all over the world who were telling me stories about what they had experienced and the importance of reporting on it. Through those contacts I started travelling more across the Middle East and Africa and reporting more on these topics. 2) Depending on the place and the country you are reporting in, it can be helpful or dangerous to define yourself as a journalist. I am lucky that I don't film, I just take photos and write notes for newspaper articles and for my book, which I can do on my phone, meaning I don't attract as much attention. Sometimes journalists are targeted by police or security forces, while in other cases they are respected and helped by people who want to get their stories out. So you have to assess each situation separately.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg fabulous_flight | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    14 Apr 2022

    Hello Sally, I would like to ask you two questions: What are the reasons that prompted you to write this book? Did you meet a refugee and talk to them about their suffering? Thank you

    Reply to this comment
    1. Sally Hayden EXPERT: Sally Hayden
      fabulous_flight's comment 13 May 2022

      Thank you so much for your questions. 1) I decided to write this book when I had already been reporting on what was happening to refugees who tried to reach Europe for a few years. I wanted to collect all the information I had gathered in one place and make sure it had been properly recorded, as well as showing readers more about the human cost of these dangerous journeys and of the suffering that the lack of help is leading to. 2) Yes, I have met many refugees across Europe and in countries like Rwanda, Sudan, and Ethiopia, as well as on a rescue boat on the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Libya.

      Reply to this comment
    2. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      fabulous_flight's comment 18 May 2022

      I found that there is a very big link between this question and a question answered by Mr. Krish Kandia and the text of the question was "What made you do this work?" A similar question was asked to Sally Hayden, “What are the reasons that prompted you to write a book about refugees?” There was a link between them that the two questions give the same goal, which is to help refugees, but each one in his own way.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    15 Apr 2022

    Hello my dear, I would like to ask some questions and I hope to get an answer. What prompted you to write about this topic? Were there situations on the ground that you dealt with that pushed you to write? Or did you consider it a financial return that might bring profits to you? Or was it to gain international fame because the refugee issue occupies the world?

    Reply to this comment
    1. Sally Hayden EXPERT: Sally Hayden
      willing_imagination's comment 13 May 2022

      Thank you for your questions. I was working as a staff journalist in London from 2014-16, when the so-called "European migrant crisis" was happening, and there was a lot of interest in migration and refugees. My editors supported me to go out and meet people who had come to Europe from all over the world. From there I gained a lot of contacts among people who had made these journeys and I began to travel more and report more broadly across Africa and the Middle East. A lot of the time in journalism you do not decide exactly what you want to focus on longterm (especially if you are freelance, like I have been since 2016), it's more that if you do one story on a topic you gain more contacts, more people approach you to offer information, more editors will ask you to write about that topic and you gain knowledge too so you keep reporting on it. My book begins at a point when I began to be contacted by refugees who were held in detention centres in Libya - and I did not look for those contacts, they reached out to me because they knew of my other work.
      In terms of profits, writing books generally doesn't pay very well and I am donating part of the proceeds of the book to support refugees, so I was not driven by profit, but I do other work to support myself. I did not want to be famous but I do think it is important that more people learn about these issues, particularly regarding the policies rich countries are implementing to keep refugees away, which are leading to human rights abuses. So I hope that that will become more well known, but it can be very hard to get the European public to care.

      Reply to this comment
      1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
        Sally Hayden's comment 13 May 2022

        I'm happy to answer my questions, and I love what you have great work and thank you because you made a large part of the proceeds of books to help refugees, but in my mind I read the answer another question, which is after this long journey from working in the field of journalism do you feel that you have achieved the desired success? Have you ever felt that you made pursuant to help the refugee issue?

        Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg pioneering_wilddog | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    15 Apr 2022

    When talking about refugees, a person has certain limits that he cannot cross during the conversation, so that he does not take sides, or mention something that may have consequences later. The question I would like to ask is, how did you manage to communicate the idea to the reader, without crossing the borders?!

    Reply to this comment
    1. Sally Hayden EXPERT: Sally Hayden
      pioneering_wilddog's comment 13 May 2022

      Thank you for your question. I think the best thing we can do as journalists is present the facts fairly and accurately so that readers can make up their own mind and not feel that we have an agenda. At the same stage, I think it is important to point out when human rights abuses are taking place and I believe a journalist can remain objective while still being clear about that.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg pioneering_wilddog | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    15 Apr 2022

    There are many areas that you can write about, why did you choose refugees to talk about them?! Although it is sensitive.

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg engaging_bell | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    16 Apr 2022

    Mrs. Sally, I have two questions (why did you write about refugees in particular)??! (And what do you like the most about the life of refugees)?? Thank you 🥰

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg victorious_sparrow | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    17 Apr 2022

    How long did it take you to write the book?

    Reply to this comment
    1. Sally Hayden EXPERT: Sally Hayden
      victorious_sparrow's comment 13 May 2022

      Thank you for your question. I began reporting on migration related issues in 2015, and on the specific topic of the book in 2018. I started working on the book properly in 2019, and in 2020 I got the book deal. From that point it took me one year to write it, and after that there were some edits. So this is not a clear answer as it depends which point you start counting from, but I would say it took me years, including doing the reporting.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg entrepreneurial_hurricane | Pantang Presby Basic School | Ghana
    19 Apr 2022

    My first question is what came in your mind and you started to write about other countries.
    My second question is how do you feel when writing about other

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg skillful_cranberry | School of Excellence Sector-23 Rohini | India
    20 Apr 2022

    I would like to ask sally that "What are the circumstances responsible for making people on the move captive?
    Is there anything we can do to help them?

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg outspoken_shrimp | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    20 Apr 2022

    Thank you for your interest in Refugees And I really thank you 🌹

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg outspoken_shrimp | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    22 Apr 2022

    1. The issue of refugees is a beautiful and different thing, but why did you choose refugees specifically?2. Why did you care about the issue of refugees?3. Do you feel that refugees are people of our responsibility?❤️🤗

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg bright_conversation | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    24 Apr 2022

    Sally, what were the most prominent penalties that you faced while writing this book,and also your feelings

    Reply to this comment
    1. Sally Hayden EXPERT: Sally Hayden
      bright_conversation's comment 13 May 2022

      Thank you for the question. I personally faced death threats and was placed under a criminal investigation while reporting this book. More frightening though were the threats made to my sources, people who were inside detention centres in Libya and were in danger if it was revealed that they had been sharing evidence and information about what was happening there. Many have since made it to safety, which I am very glad about.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg amazing_reflection | Shohour High Public School | Lebanon
    05 May 2022

    Hey Sally, as your book talks about refugees rights, what do you think about giving the environmental refugees same rights as war refugees? Are you willing to write a book about this issue?

    Reply to this comment
    1. Sally Hayden EXPERT: Sally Hayden
      amazing_reflection's comment 13 May 2022

      Thank you for the question - it is a very important one. I do briefly mention climate change pushing people to migrate in this book. However, I think this is a much bigger issue and maybe one that I will try to cover more in-depth in the future. Last month I was in Somalia where climate change is said to be behind a devastating drought - the worst in decades. More than 700,000 people have been displaced and people there told me some are now trying to reach Europe because they can no longer support their families as all their animals have died from hunger and thirst. They would not legally be recognised as refugees as the law stands now but they were also calling to have safe and legal ways to travel to countries where they can support themselves, and send money back for their families.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    15 May 2022

    hello sally
    1) How did you feel when you finished writing the book?
    2) Is it possible that a journalist is biased against refugees?

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    19 May 2022

    hello sally
    my question is:
    What are the goals and ambitions that you had in the past and how can you achieve them?

    Reply to this comment

You must be logged in with Student Hub access to post a comment. Sign up now!