AS THE attackers surrounded the 60 Minutes crew and the punches began flying on a Stockholm street, tough-as-nails reporter Liz Hayes remembers thinking she was glad she was a woman.
“I just knew, they wouldn’t hit me,” says Hayes of the moment she and her crew became the unwilling centre of a story on the refugee crisis, which they had travelled to Europe to report on.
“I was glad, right then, that I was a woman. I felt they wouldn’t hit me because of that, and that might mean I could slow things down a bit.”
“I’m pretty sure if I was one of the guys I probably would have been hit as well.”
Hayes is an old school journalist who across more than two decades of reporting with 60 Minutes has always been a believer in delivering the story, not being the story.
But as a report airing on 60 Minutes on Sunday night shows, in Stockholm in late January, the story walked up and hit the news team squarely in the face.
Hayes has reported from the frontline in Afghanistan and is no stranger to danger — but admits she didn’t see the attack — which saw a cameraman’s foot run over by a car, and the rest of the crew punched and kicked, coming.
“It was Sweden. I wasn’t expecting hairy, but I think it all comes back to tensions and issues between migrants, immigrants and refugees and just the general friction that is occurring around the world,” she says.