This interview was originally published in Radio Times magazine.


British journalist and special correspondent for Sky News Alex Crawford's most recent docuseries is Women at War: Mexico, which explores the systemic violence faced by women in Mexico today and those individuals fighting against it.

Crawford spoke with the Radio Times Podcast about the docuseries, as well as about giving news stories the exposure they deserve and what she personally likes to watch on the TV - including Love Island.

What’s the view from your sofa?

Right next to the TV, I’ve got three fantastic pictures of misshapen heads. They were drawn by my daughter when she was eight and I framed them. I think they might be self-portraits. On the other side, there’s a record player that I gave to my youngest, who hilariously said, "Where’s the shuffle button?".

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What do you enjoy watching on TV?

I’m really very, very boring. I watch a lot of Sky News and flick between the BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN. I hesitate to say this but, when I’m with the kids, we watch Love Island. I hate the concept of the programme, but I watch it because it’s now a big family event.

As a family, do you watch your own work?

Definitely not! Occasionally, Sky have released promos that feature me, and the kids parrot what I say: "You’ve got to keep your ear to the ground." I don’t think it’s being done in a flattering way!

You grew up in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Did the conflict you witnessed in your childhood lead to your career choice?

It probably had a lot to do with it – conflict didn’t feel that alien. Going to school, I had to travel from Zambia to Zimbabwe. They’d shut the border and the only people allowed to go over were schoolchildren. Everyone had to get off the bus and there were all these armed guys who thought we were being used to smuggle weapons and contraband. When you grow up in an environment like that, it becomes normalised.

Critics say that some news stories don’t receive the exposure they should…

The audience often says things like, "Why don’t we hear more about Yemen? Or Iran?" But it’s really difficult to get into those places. If I could get a visa to get into Iran, I’d go in a shot. In the past, particularly during the Arab Spring, it was possible to cross from one country to another because it was anarchy. Then you get criticised for breaking the rules – but sometimes rules have to be broken.

If a law says girls can’t be educated, does that make it right? We’ve got to be more questioning. Journalists should be exposing these things and proving what’s going on.

Alex Crawford in Women at War: Mexico
Alex Crawford in Women at War: Mexico. Sky UK

Your recent film in the Sky series Women at War exposed some harrowing truths about femicide in Mexico, where on average ten women are murdered every day. Why are we blind to this brutality?

Mexico seems like an awful long way away for most people – even I wasn’t very well versed on what was going on there. When the team and the director suggested making this film, I started doing my own research. What I found was staggering.

You also made a film about what life is like for women in Afghanistan. I know male reporters don’t get asked this, but is it hard to report on violence against women?

The reason men don’t get asked is that they’ll never completely understand. Even if they have a daughter or partner, it’s not the same as living under an umbrella of sexism. What’s happening in Afghanistan should make us all angry. There’s a whole section of society being denied their basic human rights.

Is news presentation shifting from conventional bulletins to social media?

It’s the same content, just on different platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. There’s no disgrace in doing something tailor-made for social media, especially if you’re getting a little-known story to a different age group. We should all be embracing it.

Women at War: Mexico is available to stream on Sky and NOW. Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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