Yeah... but as a photo journalist I think it's critical for her to be able to lug it around with ease as she interviews various people. I'm down with carbon fiber, even if it makes the price jump. I remember checking out a monopod where you squeeze the grip and it extends and she was having problems doing it. It was a demo monopod though... so it probably was abused. I think she likes the clip lock style...
IMHO, you don't use a tripod for interviewing people. Can you honestly tell me you've seen someone rushing in and out of a riot, or something that says photo journalism with a monopod? She'd get more use out of a decent flash if she hasn't got one already. You use a monopod when you have a tele lens such as a 70-200 F2.8 and don't have image stabilization, and generally when you are in low light and have to use slower shutter speeds.
If it were me however, I would take a look at strobist.com and his blog, and see what books he recommends. There are a few very highly recommended ones on photojournalism.
On the other hand, it's your gift idea, so who am I to say what you should get her. I guess she's keen on one from what you've mentioned.