Naomi Klein: What do you do?
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In 2008 it won the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year and is longlisted for the inaugural 2009 Warwick Prize for Writing (UK). The six minute companion film, created by Alfonso Cuaron, director of Children of Men, was an Official Selection of the 2007 Venice Biennale and Toronto International Film Festivals and was a viral phenomenon, downloaded over a million times.
Her first book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies was also an international bestseller, translated into over 28 languages with more than a million copies in print. A collection of her work, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate was published in 2002.
Naomi Klein writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by The New York Times Syndicate. In 2004, her reporting from Iraq for Harper’s Magazine won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Also in 2004, she co-produced The Take with director Avi Lewis, a feature documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories. The film was an Official Selection of the Venice Biennale and won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute’s Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia.
Naomi Klein: How would I describe it? I guess I see myself as a . . . as a . . . as an educator. Much of what I do is . . . it’s research and then explaining that research in as accessible a way as I can. So there’s a lot of different stages to what I do, so it’s a little hard to describe. I mean sometimes there’s the information gathering time, which is where it’s really important to just be a fly on the wall. And that’s, you know, whenever I’m traveling, whether it’s Iraq, or New Orleans, tsunami affected Sri (5:56) Lanka – where it’s really about just absorbing as much information as I can and being as invisible as I can, and really just like a conduit I guess. And that’s a particular kind of travel, and I get to . . . It’s quite a difficult kind of travel because you’re going to high risk places. And then . . . and then there’s the hiding phase, which is the processing of that information; putting it into an analytic framework, reading, thinking, writing, which is a very lonely process, and really the opposite of that engaged kind of travel out there in the world. And then the third stage is explaining it; taking it, talking to journalists about it, and more importantly to me you know talking to audiences of people who have read the work and want to learn more, and engage, and think about what to do next. So there’s many different phases. And to me it’s really important to not just do one thing. You know not just . . . just report, and not bother explaining and popularizing, you know and not just give speeches over and over again and not renew with new research. So it’s a cycle. Recorded on: 11/29/07
Klein is a teacher and an activist.