Monday 2 June 2014

Combat Journalism: CQR

Combat Journalism: CQR

Is reporting on global conflict worth the risk?

By Frank Greve

Chris Hondros (Getty Images)  
Hondros, a veteran combat photographer for Getty Images, was killed by a
rocket-propelled grenade in Misrata, Libya, on April 20, 2011. Above,
he covers fighting in Beirut, Lebanon, on Aug. 21, 2006. (Getty Images)
than 1,000 American and foreign journalists have been killed or
seriously injured over the past 20 years covering wars, insurgencies,
popular uprisings and other conflicts abroad, including the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan and the Arab Spring revolutions. As the Internet has
spurred the global appetite for minute-by-minute news updates and
established news organizations worldwide have shuttered overseas bureaus
and cut back their staffs, more and more inexperienced young freelance
reporters and photographers and local hires have ventured into harm's
way in search of dramatic stories and photos. Meanwhile, insurgents are
using YouTube and Facebook to publicize their cause, making them less
inclined to protect journalists in hopes of getting good press. In fact,
combatants today often consider journalists not as partners or even
impartial observers, but as high-value targets for hostage-taking — and


Knight, a freelance photojournalist, and his wife, Fiona Turner, an ABC
News producer, both flew off to cover the war in Bosnia in 1993, and
there the similarities end.
She traveled in high
TV-news style, Knight recalls, “in an armored car with her crew and
correspondent, communicating by satellite telephone, with practically
everything she needed at her disposal,” including $10,000 in emergency
Knight, meanwhile, scraped by on the
piecework sales of his photos. He slept on friends' hotel room floors
and drove a tinny, underpowered rental car. To reach his clients, Knight
rented satellite-phone time at the international TV center outside
Sarajevo. To get there he had to drive down a nearly three-mile gauntlet
known as Sniper Alley, the city's main boulevard and a shooting gallery
for concealed Serb gunmen. Knight's strategy: “I would put the car seat
in maximum recline and drive as fast as I could.”Footnote 1
covering wars, coups and other unrest are famous for taking
breathtaking risks. Now, more freelancers than ever are at risk, as
cost-cutting news organizations hire independent photographers and
reporters while closing foreign bureaus and slashing staff payrolls and
travel budgets.
At the same time, combatants who
once respected the neutrality of journalists now target them for ransom,
revenge, leverage or recognition. Sexual attacks on women reporters are
up, deaths are up, and so is fear. The result is a virtual news
blackout on more and more countries deemed too dangerous to cover, let
alone cover perceptively. Many, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria
and North Korea, are important to U.S. security interests, but few news
organizations, either mainstream or new media, are taking on the
hazardous work. And few freelance journalists who relish the challenge
are equipped to survive it.
Martha Raddatz (AFP/Getty Images/Paul J. Richards)  
Raddatz, chief global affairs correspondent for ABC News, made her 16th
trip to war-torn Iraq on March 17, 2008, accompanying Vice President
Dick Cheney. (AFP/Getty Images/Paul J. Richards)
are more journalists on front lines with less institutional support
than ever before,” says Frank Smyth, senior security adviser for the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international advocacy group
based in New York City.
This new, more
risk-tolerant mix of so-called conflict journalists includes scores of
young print and broadcast reporters and photographers — amateur and
newly professional — keen to see real combat, build their brands and, in
some cases, advance a personal cause. They worry Michael Kamber, a
veteran conflict photographer and writer for The New York Times.
got no experience, no safety training, no health insurance, no armored
car, no flak vest, no helmet, no good local fixer to keep them out of
trouble, and no editor back home to encourage them to be safe,” Kamber
says. “What it comes down to is, they have no money in a situation where
having money behind you keeps you safe.”
today turn up twice as often in tallies of reporters killed as when
Knight went to Bosnia in 1993, according to CPJ figures. Photographers —
still and video — turn up three times as often, and online journalists
are the fastest-growing category.Footnote 2
surge in deaths among risk-tolerant freelancers and online reporters
begins to explain why the last 20 years have been the deadliest, by far,
in the history of journalism, according to the Newseum, a museum in
Washington dedicated to journalism history.Footnote *
More than half the journalists ever killed on the job have died since
1993. In total, 2,155 have been killed since serious, competitive
conflict reporting began with the Civil War, 1,214 of them in the last
20 years.Footnote 3
deaths in battle remained almost freakishly rare until after World War
II, due to tight military censorship and restrictions on access to front
lines. During World War I, “The only way to get to the front was to be
escorted,” explains Susan Moeller, a professor of media and
international affairs at the University of Maryland who writes about
conflict journalism. “Nobody died because nobody was in the line of
fire.” Reporters moved more freely in World War II, she adds, but their
plans required military approval. Few got it to cover active combat,
except for celebrated war journalists such as photographer Robert Capa.
Iraq Is Deadliest Country for Journalists  
restraints loosened, death tolls surged. Sixty journalists died in the
Vietnam War, an undeclared war with open press access, while 67 died in
World War II, according to the Newseum. At least 170 journalists died in
Iraq, based on CPJ figures, the highest toll ever for a single war.
When drivers, translators and other support personnel are included,
Iraq's total is 231.Footnote 4
mounting toll is being paid in reporting quality as well as blood.
That's clearest from another kind of war: Mexico's blacked-out drug war.Footnote 5 Editors of El Mañana
in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, for example, have ignored the drug story since
May 2011, when two rival gangs each demanded favorable coverage. Before
El Mañana's concession, a crusading editor had been murdered, a competing paper's editor murdered, and the El Mañana building stormed twice by masked assailants firing assault rifles.
front-page editorial explained: “The newspaper will abstain for as long
as necessary from publishing any information about the violent disputes
that our city or other regions of the country are suffering.” It blamed
a “lack of the conditions for the free exercise of journalism.”Footnote 6
conditions have been absent in many countries, where important
developments have proved too dangerous to cover. Libya, for example,
proved too risky for even the FBI to investigate the attack on the U.S.
consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and
three other Americans in September 2012.
the civil war in Syria was so dangerous in 2011–12 that many news
outlets relied on unauthenticated reports produced by partisans.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen remain largely off-limits to Western
reporters beyond their capitals, and North Korea is almost entirely
off-limits. And the price of news blackouts can be high: Al Qaeda grew
to lethality unnoticed during the Taliban-enforced clampdown on
reporting in Afghanistan in the 1990s.
“Even very
basic reporting has become high-risk. It's a terrible development,” says
David Rohde, a columnist and investigative reporter for Thomson Reuters
who survived two abductions while a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor.
“Without being able to go out and move among people, you're stuck in a
world of embeds and official interviews and fortified compounds.”
— or embedded journalists — are reporters and photographers picked by
commanders to join their units for weeks or longer. Embedding has
produced many stories focused on allied military performance in the Iraq
and Afghanistan wars. Rarer and harder to report, however, have been
stories featuring Iraqi and Afghan perspectives on, say, U.S.-led combat
operations or on nation-building efforts.
diplomacy also suffers when reporters can't report, says Larry
Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
“Frankly, I got more out of public-domain media than I got from the most
highly classified intelligence reports,” says Wilkerson. “In crisis
situations especially, journalists were more likely to pick up what was
happening on the ground, while intelligence people would still be
listening to their old friends who were telling them everything was
under control.”
The growing danger for journalists
is largely the result of a change in how combatants see reporters. “In
the '80s, you could use your status as a journalist to get out of
situations,” says Robert Nickelsberg, a contract photographer for Time
magazine for 25 years. “They might hold you at the border in Pakistan,
but once the word got to higher-ups that they had two journalists,
they'd say, ‘let them go.’ Today, everybody's sizing up the situation to
see whether the life of the journalist or the death of the journalist
is more worth exploiting.”
In response to this new
attitude among combatants, Western news organizations in Knight's day
hired security consultants and trainers for their staffs in Bosnia and
leased them armored vehicles. But when a spate of killings and
abductions in Iraq proved those techniques inadequate in 2003–04,
foreign news organizations pulled most Western staff off the streets and
replaced them with Iraqi journalists. It made news sense because Iraqis
knew their way around better and didn't stand out in crowds. As a
consequence, though, more died with less notice.
More Iraqis Than Westerners Died Covering Iraq  
2003, eleven of the 14 journalists killed in Iraq were Westerners.
Thereafter until the war's end in December 2011, 151 Iraqis died,
compared with 10 Western journalists, according to CPJ. To be sure, many
of the Iraqis died in sectarian and political attacks and neighborhood
cleansings that Western journalists would not have faced. But 21 died
while working for Western media, based on CPJ data, and another 45 died
working for U.S.-backed Iraqi news organizations. By comparison, just
five journalists have been killed on assignment on U.S. soil in the last
20 years, according to CPJ.
The deaths in Iraq
included 16 mistaken-identity killings by U.S. troops. Hardest hit was
the international news agency Reuters, now part of Thomson Reuters,
which lost five news personnel.Footnote 7
All 16 were non-Westerners who may indeed have been at greater risk. In
one Reuters case, Pentagon investigators noted that the shooter
described his victim as “a male wearing a black shirt and pants” with
“dark skin and dark hair.”
“I think that there was
the stereotypical view [in the U.S. military] that a foreign
correspondent wore khaki trousers, epaulets and a sunhat and looked like
you and me,” says David Schlesinger, who oversaw coverage of the war as
Reuters' managing editor, then editor-in-chief. Non-Western journalists
also were more exposed to U.S. fire, he notes, because U.S. commanders
rarely picked them to embed with their units. “There was a feeling in
the military that if you were embedded, we'll take care of you; if
you're not embedded, you're on your own,” says Schlesinger. Pentagon
spokesman Bryan Whitman put it differently in 2009 after two of the
Reuters mistaken-identity killings. “We think the safest way to cover
these operations is to be embedded with U.S. forces,” Whitman said.Footnote 8
journalists killed in Iraq, seven were embedded with Allied forces,
according to CPJ. Of 25 killed in Afghanistan, two were. But embedding,
while it probably protects reporters, may not be good for the quality of
their journalism. For embedded reporters, the story “became the forces
and how they were doing …, not the Iraqi people and what they were going
through,” says Terry Anderson, former chief Middle East correspondent
for The Associated Press, who was kidnapped by what is believed to have
been Hezbollah in Beirut, Lebanon, in the mid-1980s and held hostage for
nearly seven years.
Anderson, most recently a
visiting professor of journalism at Syracuse University, lauds
independent reporters in Iraq who worked unprotected, known as
“unilaterals.” So does Jay M. Parker, chair and professor of
international security studies at the National Defense University, in
Washington. “Frankly, there were a lot of stories from Iraq that no one
would have had without unilaterals,” says Parker. “In journalism, if
you're doing the job right, the danger grows.”
In the face of rising hazards to reporting, here are some of the questions being asked:

Are news organizations doing enough to protect their journalists?

Anthony Shadid, The New York Times'
top Middle East correspondent, was no stranger to risk. When the
two-time Pulitzer Prize winner died at 43 at the end of a secret
reporting mission inside Syria in February 2012, his former boss framed
it as a death in the line of duty. “He understood the basic rule of
reporting: Always go…. He knew you had to be there. You had to see it,”
wrote Bill Keller, a columnist and former executive editor of The Times. Footnote 9
had died of an asthma attack, not enemy fire, after all, and his death
seemed simply tragic. Then, four months after his death, doubts arose
about the notion that Shadid chose to go to Syria. A cousin said Shadid
had argued with his editors the night before he left for Syria and had
told his wife that if he died there, “The New York Times killed me.”Footnote 10 Shadid's widow, Nada Bakri, herself a Times staffer, has never commented on the cousin's account.
A Times
spokesperson said Shadid knew the risks and could have pulled out at
any time. But his death shows how fraught choices can be when it comes
to risking a reporter's life to get a great story. “You'll get
second-guessed if someone does get hurt or killed. You'll also get
second-guessed if you don't get a story you could have gotten,” says
Schlesinger, the former Reuters editor-in-chief. “That's the news
Actually, the news business is fractured
about safety. News organizations that specialize in global coverage,
such as the BBC, CNN, The Associated Press and Reuters, are the most
protective, according to Rodney Pinder, founding director of the
London-based International News Safety Institute (INSI), who retired in
A Safety Code for War Zones  
in 2003 after a string of preventable journalist deaths, INSI is a
coalition of news organizations, journalists and journalist-advocacy
groups that try to make dangerous reporting safer. INSI's most
protective members give security consultants near-veto power over
reporter assignments and train key staff and freelancers in skills such
as first aid, battlefield safety, defensive driving, prudent hostage
behavior and communications security.
newspapers do much the same for staff reporters and photographers who
cover conflicts, but Pinder doubts that many freelancers get staff-level
training, let alone medical or life insurance.
He's right, a Columbia Journalism Review
investigation concluded. “Being without health, disability or life
insurance is the norm in conflict reporting” for freelancers, CJR
reported last June. “While some news organizations will step in if
something goes drastically wrong, most ignore or evade the insurance
issue, and freelancers — fearing the revocation of their story
assignments — don't press the point.”Footnote 11
A few freelancers buy their own health insurance, for which CJR
reported a minimum rate of $567 a month for reporting in Afghanistan,
plus $192 for $100,000 in death and dismemberment coverage. Like many
others, USA Today freelancer Kimberly Johnson, figured she'd be
“making just enough to maybe pay the premium,” so she trusted to luck
and headed off to Iraq uncovered and ultimately survived unscathed.Footnote 12
working for media based in countries such as India, Mexico and the
Philippines are in another league when it comes to danger. From such
unstable places, Pinder says, “I've had more than one broadcaster tell
me that all this safety stuff is very expensive, that journalists are
paid to take risks and that, frankly, it's cheaper to replace them than
to protect them.” In fact, most journalists who have been killed worked
for small, remote and likely strapped news organizations — 1,357
different news outlets have lost personnel, according to the Newseum's
global count.
A handful of journalists who received
safety training say it saved their lives, and more may have been saved
by the training without realizing it. But people who worry about
journalists' safety often view editors and reporters as careless and
clueless. “No military officer would send soldiers from theater of war
to theater of war, as editors do with reporters, without intelligence,
preparation, training and reconnaissance,” says Vaughan Smith, a
London-based former British Grenadier Guard, videographer, freelance
video agency operator and advocate for freelance journalists.
are part of the problem, Smith says. “They turn up in war zones with
suitcases instead of rucksacks, or in Sarajevo with heart conditions and
needing drugs in the middle of a siege. We're too egocentric — too
obsessed with our story — to ever get around to mastering practical
safety skills, such as communications security,”
journalists aren't even trained in simple first aid. In 2011, veteran
combat cinematographer Tim Hetherington died from loss of blood in
Misrata, Libya, after he was hit by a mortar round. Hetherington might
have survived the wound, which opened a femoral artery, had the bleeding
been stanched while he was being driven to a nearby hospital. But none
of the four journalists accompanying Hetherington knew enough first aid
to recognize the risk or treat it, says Sebastian Junger, a collaborator
with Hetherington on war reporting projects who pays tribute to him in
an HBO documentary.Footnote 13 Instead, Hetherington “bled out,” says Junger, while a colleague held his hand.
employer-provided protective gear, such as flak jackets and helmets,
often goes unused. Photographer Andre Liohn, working near Hetherington
when he died, later blogged that he (Liohn) found the gear bulky and
conspicuous and thought some wearers looked like “overdressed military
clowns.”Footnote 14 Times of London
correspondent Anthony Loyd chose to leave his flak vest at home rather
than wear it among Bosnian civilians who had no protection. Others found
the gear too hot.Footnote 15
Shadid's case, the risks of a secret mission inside Syria were extreme,
according to his cousin, Dr. Edward Shadid, an Oklahoma City surgeon.
He later told an American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee dinner in
Washington that Times editors had proposed smuggling the reporter into Syria, where his face was well-known from prior TV exposure. A Times
security consultant rejected that idea but editors overruled him weeks
later after a CNN team began broadcasting from inside Syria, according
to Dr. Shadid.Footnote 16
there were other problems: Shadid's smugglers, according to his cousin,
smuggled in arms along with him, which would have impeached the
journalist's claim of neutrality were he caught. They also failed to
come up with motorcycles — promised to the reporter and Times staff photographer Tyler Hicks, who accompanied Shadid on the ill-fated Syria trip, Dr. Shadid said.Footnote 17
Speed and fitness are key when covering conflict. (“The first patrol I lag on, that's the day I stop,” vowed Times correspondent C. J. Chivers, who also has done undercover reporting in Syria.)Footnote 18
But Shadid was an out-of-shape smoker, his cousin said, and while he
had brought along antihistamines and inhalers to treat his asthma, that
wasn't enough.

Are new and better models of war reporting emerging?

The Wall Street Journal's
Iraq bureau chief, Farnaz Fassihi, an Iranian-American, described in a
2004 e-mail to family and friends how trapped she was as a journalist by
the unending violence outside her Baghdad apartment. Her message was a
perfect illustration of how danger suppresses reporting.
leave only when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview.
I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets,” Fassihi
wrote. “I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants,
can't strike up a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories,
can't drive in anything but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of
breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English
outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger
at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing,
feeling. And can't and can't.”Footnote 19
Iraqi reporters could still do most of those things, Baghdad bureaus
hired them for on-the-street work under Western editors. They had to
conceal their collaboration, however, and survive the perils that have
killed as many as 122,000 Iraqi civilians since the U.S.-led invasion of
Iraq began in 2003.Footnote 20
“There's an immensely chilling effect that comes from working in the
environment where your family lives,” says the University of Maryland's
Moeller. “This limits the individual's willingness and ability to take
Deaths of Combat Journalists Soar  
21st-century disputes and conflicts in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Yemen, Libya and Syria have exposed most Western journalists to the same
risks and shortcomings that surfaced in Iraq: “They look out of place,
and they are very much out of their depth in terms of language,
understanding of the culture and experience,” says former Reuters
editor-in-chief Schlesinger. So Western news organizations adopted new
strategies for covering such conflicts, essentially trial marriages of
Western editors and local reporters, and of mainstream and new media,
such as Twitter, Facebook and especially YouTube.
coverage of post-election protests in Iran in 2009, for example, news
organizations effectively ceded on-scene coverage to social media
reports and video sent by activists inside Iran. This assured dramatic
visuals of Iran's so-called “Green Revolution,” but accuracy was a
casualty. After reviewing Twitter content for the protest's first two
days, Richard Sambrook, former director general of BBC's Global News
division, concluded: “If you relied on it, you might believe that all
sorts of things had happened, which simply hadn't (tanks in streets,
opposition members arrested, the election declared void, students killed
and buried), running a high risk of being seriously misled about events
on the ground. You might, at best, have simply been confused. You
probably wouldn't have thought that [Iran's President Mahmoud]
Ahmadinejad enjoys much popular support at all.”Footnote 21
and editors began debating how important or attainable accuracy was,
and whether it was better to let audiences draw their own conclusions
from raw accounts. A major fault line separated old and new media and
old and young news consumers. Sambrook took the traditional position:
“Reporting of international events is expected to be provided by
independent journalists employed for that purpose by a news
organization.”Footnote 22 A partisan and unedited blogger, in other words, was not producing journalism.
Solana Larsen, managing editor of Global Voices,
an international news and feature blog with more than 500 contributors,
took the opposite position: “Sooner or later, qualified local
perspectives will become what people prefer to hear, rather than what
editors defer to when a situation becomes too dangerous for Western
journalists to report from.”Footnote 23
of these local perspectives come from so-called “citizen journalists” —
unpaid freelance amateurs who do what professional reporters do, but
whose texts, photos and videos generally are unedited. Mainstream
Western media relied on them heavily for Arab Spring coverage,
especially for visuals. But the role of citizen journalists remains
controversial because so many were, in fact, partisans in opposition
movements. News organizations sometimes noted this, or conceded that
reports they aired from citizen journalists could not be confirmed.
Severely injured by shrapnel (AFP/Getty Images/Chris Huby)  
injured by shrapnel, French freelance photographer Olivier Voisin is
loaded into an ambulance at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between
Syria and Turkey on Feb. 21, 2013. He died three days later. Freelance
war correspondents are increasingly at risk, as cost-cutting news
organizations hire independent reporters and photographers. (AFP/Getty Images/Chris Huby)
often they did not, especially in mainstream media meant for Middle
Eastern audiences, according to a content analysis by the University of
Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. Neither BBC Arabic
nor Al Jazeera Arabic “explicitly communicated to audiences what they
have been able to verify and what remains unverified,” reviewers
concluded.Footnote 24
Still, new media dominated coverage of Arab Spring conflicts in 2011–2012.Footnote 25
In reports from Libya and Syria, for example, “almost all video footage
used on the air came from users” of social media, according to a new
study by the United States Institute of Peace.Footnote 26
In addition, “Traditional media outlets, especially broadcasters, often
turned to the online videos of ‘citizen journalists’ rather than their
own correspondents for on-the-ground real-time reports.” And finally,
“citizen journalist” footage on YouTube scored more page views than
videos produced by mainstream media.Footnote 27
overnight, conflict journalism had absorbed, albeit in flawed ways, new
economic realities, new content providers, new audience demands and new

Have technological advances helped journalists working in war zones?

a given that the Internet has aided conflict reporters in their work.
“Whether it is search, or online databases, or the ease of making
charts, editing and posting an audio clip, or recording an interview
over Skype with a source on the other side of the world, journalists can
simply do far more than they could before the Internet,” according to
Jay Rosen, an author, blogger and journalism professor at New York
University.Footnote 28
electronics also enable reporters to do conflict journalism far more
cheaply and easily: In 1943, celebrated photojournalist Margaret
Bourke-White wrote, she “ruthlessly” trimmed her camera gear to 250
pounds before joining the U.S. Army's invasion of Italy. In 2011,
photographer Michael Brown sold to National Geographic photos of the Libyan uprising that he'd shot with his iPhone.
the smart phones, satellite phones, laptops and social media that
journalists (and their sources) depend on share a critical flaw,
security specialists warn: They don't guarantee privacy. In fact, they
make spying on reporters — and their sources — easier than ever. “It's
one of the gravest dangers facing journalists today,” said Danny
O'Brien, Internet advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect
Journalists.Footnote 29
Scott-Railton, a UCLA graduate student and member of a group of
programmers helping Middle Eastern activists reduce their online
vulnerability, explains the problem: “These systems were all designed
for easy, mass-market use. But they were not designed or maintained to
protect the user's privacy from an adversary [who is] a state actor. And
because the defenses are less sophisticated, the risk is asymmetric in
the state's favor.”
Most hackers,
government-sponsored or otherwise, use a form of malware — a computer
virus, “worm” or Trojan horse that, installed through a ruse, gives the
intruder remote, hard-to-detect access to the target's computer. Access
includes the computer's keystroke log, passwords, video camera, e-mail
directory and Skype records, plus clues to the user's precise location.Footnote 30
the security of just one digital activist can mean compromising the
security — names, faces, e-mail addresses — of everyone that individual
knows,” warns electronic information futurist Evgeny Morozov.”Footnote 31
By comparison, it took 12 KGB agents to bug a single apartment during
the Soviet era, he notes in a book chapter entitled “Why the KGB Wants
You to Join Facebook.”Footnote 32
breaches of journalists' electronics underscore the risks. In October
2011, for example, Syrian security agents apprehended British
documentary-maker Sean McAllister, who had been filming Syrian
dissidents. The agents also seized his laptop, mobile phone, camera and
footage, including unencrypted interview notes and source contact
information. Dissidents to whom McAllister had promised anonymity
scattered and fled the country when they learned of his detention.Footnote 33
a second case involving war-zone journalists, Libyan agents obtained a
CNN spreadsheet listing names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of CNN
underground sources in Tripoli. When tested, the contact information
proved accurate, and a CNN spokeswoman subsequently acknowledged “a
possible breach.”Footnote 34 No damage could be confirmed.
journalists and the activists on whom they depend are aware of their
electronic vulnerability but tend to be fatalistic about it. But as the
number of damaging intrusions grows, it becomes more likely that
journalists who fail to take electronic precautions will find themselves
in trouble with both the authorities and their confidential sources,
leaving the reporters with less reliable information. That realization
may dawn slowly, however. “Journalists are not good at information
security,” says Katherine Maher, a consultant on the use of new
technologies in reform movements. “They see their job as telling the
story, not worrying about whether their electronics are secure.”
precautions for reporters recommended by the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, an influential San Francisco-based nonprofit concerned with
computer privacy and security, sound as grim as East Berlin in the Cold
War, however: If the communication is sensitive, the EFF recommends,
talk only face-to-face. Avoid phone calls. Don't text. Don't use
Internet café computers. Never leave your laptop, phone or other
electronic gear unattended, even in a hotel safe. Avoid publishing
material under your own name.Footnote 35
may not be a better choice. “The paranoia game is what we need to
play,” says Steve Doig, a journalism professor at Arizona State
University in Tempe.Footnote 36
paranoia is freedom's enemy, said Morgan Marquis-Boire, a security
engineer at Google who volunteers to help activists ward off electronic
intrusions. “The censorship that occurs when people are afraid to
speak,” he said, “is actually the most powerful type of censorship
that's available.”Footnote 37
fatality figures include all journalists known by name to have died
since 1838. Committee to Protect Journalists figures, which are more
detailed, begin in 1992 and are used for years thereafter. Totals and
standards for inclusion vary for these groups and for a third
count-keeper, the International News Safety Institute.
Newseum fatality figures include all journalists known by name to have
died since 1838. Committee to Protect Journalists figures, which are
more detailed, begin in 1992 and are used for years thereafter. Totals
and standards for inclusion vary for these groups and for a third
count-keeper, the International News Safety Institute.

Risky Reporting

journalists “bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of
war,” said a reviewer of the first-ever exhibition of war photos called
“The Dead of Antietam,” at Mathew Brady's gallery in New York City in
1862. That's still true. But the risks to war correspondents have grown
almost immeasurably since the Civil War, whose 750,000 dead included
only 16 reporters.Footnote 38
On first reading, the case of Chicago Tribune
reporter Irving Carson seems a fluke. Carson was “decapitated by a
six-pound cannonball April 6 [1862] as he stood within seven feet of
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant while covering the battle of Shiloh,” according to
the Newseum. But in the strictly censored Civil War, staking out
generals and their headquarters staffs assured reporters of battle news
and rumors. It also promised reporters not just safety but good free
food, fodder for their horses, and, occasionally, use of the military's
telegraph to send stories. For as long as battles were structured around
defined fronts and fixed command centers — as was generally the case
through World War II — combat reporting from headquarters remained a
rational, and safe, strategy.
Photographing war, now the most lethal form of journalism, was the safest during the Civil War, for a technological reason:
a single photograph in 1862 entailed treating a glass plate with exotic
chemicals, in darkness, for about 10 minutes. Moreover, long exposure
times blurred any movement. The process required photographers to work
at a safe distance from the shooting and to record still images or dead
bodies rather than soldiers in action. Hence, not a single Civil War
battle photo exists. Nor did a single Civil War photographer die in
Over the next 150 years, shooting and
transmitting war images became inexorably simpler and cheaper, enabling —
and for competitive reasons, forcing — photojournalists to spend more
time in the thick of battle And the thick of battle proved more perilous
as combat lost structure and coherence.
“Even in Vietnam, wading around in water up to your chest, you sort of knew where a bullet was coming from,” says veteran Time
photographer Nickelsberg. “In urban fighting in places like Libya, you
never know. There's a lot of movement. You can't see or hear very well.
Control changes sides really fast, and there's lots of shrapnel flying
around, lots of ricochets off the pavement. Plus, when you're embedded
with rebels fighting a better-armed force, they can't protect you very
Getty Images staff photographer Joe Raedle (Getty Images/Jose Henao)  
Images staff photographer Joe Raedle transmits images to the picture
desk by satellite telephone on April 12, 2003, from the road to Al Kut,
Iraq. He covered the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq while embedded with a
Marine Corps unit. Reporters embedded with military units in Iraq and
Afghanistan inevitably have produced more coverage of the allies than of
the Afghans or Iraqis. (Getty Images/Jose Henao)
demands also affect a reporter's safety. During the Civil War, “As a
rule, newspaper editors did not require their correspondents to expose
themselves to enemy gunfire in the line of duty,” wrote historian J.
Cutler Andrews.Footnote 39
Instead, reporters observed combat from a distance, whether from
headquarters or from trees or bluffs. They also spent days reporting, in
the fighting's safe aftermath, what their editors most craved:
up-to-date lists of local casualties, which military authorities did not
In the Vietnam era, TV news editors
called the shots, reflecting the growth in TV ownership from 10 million
households during the Korean War to 100 million. And what TV editors
wanted from Vietnam was increasingly dramatic fare.
they were satisfied with a corpse,” recalled TV camera operator Richard
Lindley. “Then they had to have people dying in action. But they don't
want the video to be too bloody. They want it just so. They want
television to be cinema.”Footnote 40
those demands helped to produce a Vietnam death toll of 60 journalists,
a number disproportionate to the 67 killed in World War II, which
yielded 20 times more military deaths. The toll for earlier wars might
have been higher but for the lingering taboo against showing U.S. dead
that Brady's shocking Antietam images had first provoked. “If he has not
brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along the streets,
he has done something very like it,” the offended reviewer said of
Brady's exhibition.
Subsequently, in
Spanish-American War photos, the dead look like napping picnickers; in
World War I and even World War II photos, their faces are hidden or
unblemished and their wounds mostly discreet.
Vietnam War photographers rarely showed U.S. dead, Vietnamese dead were
not spared. Their bodies and the mess of the war ended up in American
living rooms for the same crude and powerful journalistic purpose as
Brady's: to take the conduct of war out of the hands of presidents and
generals and give it to the people.

Targeting Reporters

his interviews done and a deadline looming, Alex Thomson, chief
correspondent for British TV's Channel 4 News, asked his Free Syrian
Army hosts for an escort back to his hotel. Four men in a beaten-up
black car appeared. Thomson and his crew were led to a barricaded road
and waved onward.
“Led in fact, straight into a
free-fire zone,” Thomson later blogged. A bullet cracked. The black car,
which had been lurking at the road barricade, sped off. “I'm quite
clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian Army,”
Thomson wrote. Their likely motive: “Dead journos are bad for Damascus.”
His suspicions hardened when a member of the Arab League Observer team
in Syria, after reading Thomson's blog, tweeted: “I had that same
experience.”Footnote 41
for journalists acting as neutral observers no longer exists.
Combatants now regard them as people easily snatched or killed for
exceptional gain, or, as security consultants like to call them, “soft,
high-value targets.” At best, targeting ends as NBC chief foreign
correspondent Richard Engel's abduction in Syria did last December:
after five days of captivity and a firefight that he survived unscathed.Footnote 42 At worst, targeting ends as Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's did in 2002: with his videotaped beheading in Karachi, Pakistan.
Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that nearly half the
reporters killed in 2012 were, like Pearl, not killed in combat but
targeted for reasons related to their work. The toll includes, for
example, two Palestinian TV camera operators, Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam
Salama, killed in November while covering cross-border attacks in Gaza.
According to press reports and a subsequent CPJ investigation, an
Israeli missile hit their car, which was clearly marked with the letters
“TV.” The cameramen worked for Al-Aqsa, a TV station run by Hamas,
which governs Gaza but is deemed a terrorist organization by the United
States and Israel. An Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokeswoman said of
the killings: “The targets are people who have relevance to terrorist
activity.”Footnote 43 Human Rights Watch, which investigated the killings, found no evidence to support the IDF's claim.
episode is likely to remain a mystery: Nearly 90 percent of targeted
killings of journalists worldwide are never solved or at least never
successfully prosecuted, according to the CPJ.Footnote 44
In Iraq, where scores of local journalists — including anchors for
popular TV stations, publishers of factional newspapers, radio talk-show
hosts and stringers for Western media — were targeted, not a single
killer has been prosecuted.
In the Philippines,
where, by CPJ's count, 32 journalists accompanying a politician were
massacred in Maguindanao Province in 2009, nearly 200 people loyal to a
rival politician have been charged with roles in the murders. But their
bogged-down trial has yet to produce a single conviction, and the rival
politician's Ampatuan clan continues to consolidate its power.Footnote 45
journalists have always wanted to be spared as neutrals in conflicts,
whether political or military, their claims of impartiality have long
been shaky. In 1934, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler deported U.S. reporter
Dorothy Thompson for writing disrespectfully about him. Journalist and
author Ernest Hemingway openly sided with Republican forces and
sometimes fought with them during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
first systematic physical attacks on reporters occurred during the
Algerian war for independence from France (1954–1962), when journalists
were roughed up, abducted, expelled or shot for writing stories that
offended members of a European settlers' group. Likewise, as Khmer Rouge
communists fought for power in Cambodia beginning in the late '60s,
they “murdered far more Western and local journalists than they
released, seeing the media as political agents of their governments,”
according to veteran war correspondent Peter Arnett.Footnote 46
first targeting of a journalist to gain global attention was the
seizure of Associated Press bureau chief Anderson in Beirut in March
1985 by what is widely believed to have been Hezbollah, then a new,
Iranian-influenced militia faction. Unlike older factions, Anderson
says, its members “saw no protective distinction for journalists,
rejected their neutrality, and your treatment by them depended on what
your utility to them could be.”
Anderson's abductors seized foreign businessmen, academics and military
personnel as well as reporters. By the time of Anderson's release in
December 1991, he notes, only journalists remained easy targets.
Moreover, he says, their abductors “realized that if you seized a
journalist, you were guaranteed publicity.” Conflict journalism has
grown steadily more dangerous since then, Anderson says, “and the
question now more than ever is, how do we tell the story without getting

Safer Coverage

one has found a way to slow, let alone stop, deliberate killings of
journalists. This holds whether they die in high-visibility
battlegrounds like Iraq, in Mexican border towns or in the alleys of
Mogadishu, Somalia. Major news organizations conceded this by the
That's when they began providing
hazardous-environment training to the most exposed journalists on their
staffs. But the training, generally by retired British Special Forces
personnel at a cost of roughly $5,000 a week, proved too expensive for
most freelance journalists, despite some aid from the Rory Peck Trust, a
London-based charity for freelancers. INSI, the news safety group, also
offers some free training, but most journalists learn their trade on
the front lines from mentors. “It's always been the way in,” says
Kamber, the New York Times photojournalist and author/editor of the upcoming book, Photojournalists at War: The Untold Stories from Iraq.
addition, a New York-based emergency medical training service called
RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues), founded by Junger in
cinematographer Hetherington's memory, now serves freelancers worldwide
who cover conflicts. Only a few get such training, however, and
freelance advocate Smith suspects the skills don't stick without regular
retraining. “I mean, what did any five-day training course ever mean in
your life?” he asks.
Some news organizations,
working mainly through the Committee to Protect Journalists, have
pressed governments to do more to protect journalists. CPJ has
successfully gotten dozens of reporters released from prison (58 in 2012
alone) or trained reporters in high-risk countries how to assess
threats and flee from attacks. But persuading governments to track down
and prosecute journalists' killers has proved extremely difficult.
Mexico, for example, President Vicente Fox in 2005 recognized that
state-level law enforcement could not be relied upon to investigate
murders of reporters, since the killers might be local police,
politicians, drug gangs or powerful businessmen. So Mexico amended its
constitution to permit federal prosecutors to take over from state
authorities any cases involving crimes against journalists. By the end
of 2012, however, while the new federal office had prosecuted some
threats against reporters, it had solved none of the more than 50
murders and disappearances of Mexican journalists since 2005.
third initiative, underway since 2004, would create a special emblem
for journalists and their vehicles, along the lines of what the Red
Cross uses. The effort has stalled, however, because reporters and
groups such as INSI oppose the idea, fearing it would do more to help
target reporters than to deter attacks. In addition, press and
free-speech groups, which oppose any kind of licensing of journalists,
asked how and by whom it would be decided which reporters deserve the
special emblem.
Advocacy groups for reporters,
joined by Thomson Reuters, want the U.S. military to do more to protect
journalists — especially “unilaterals” — covering combat.
2006, the British Ministry of Defense took such a step, adding a
chapter on journalist safety to its manual on media relations for the
first time. It pledges protection to reporters in conflict zones,
whether embedded with troops or acting independently. The Pentagon
remains keen on embedding, but has said little about protecting
journalists who work independently.
laws don't protect reporters very effectively either. The Geneva
Conventions and Protocols, laws that are supposed to govern conduct in
international conflicts, don't apply to killings carried out by
nonmilitary forces in domestic conflicts. “Most reporters killed are
local reporters working in their own country, so there's no violation of
international law; the Geneva Conventions are irrelevant,” says CPJ
director Joel Simon.
Pinder of INSI thinks the
underlying problem is growing callousness. “Nobody gives a damn about
war crimes any more,” he says. “In Syria, neither the rebels nor the
government cares. In Israel, it doesn't matter to the Israeli Defense
Force who's in their crosshairs. Nor in the Philippines or Mexico or a
lot of other places.”
David Enders, a freelancer
who works in the Middle East, thinks retreat may be the only effective
response. “Kidnapping was insane in Iraq in 2003, and it didn't stop in
2004,” he says. “Rather, journalists stopped leaving their hotels.”
Current Situation

New Worries

Conflict reporters face some daunting, and at first blush, unlikely new worries — most of them connected with the Internet.
instance, by using the automatic translating tool Google Translate,
anyone can read and scrutinize a reporter's stories, making it more
difficult than in the past for reporters in conflict zones to write
candidly without risking reprisals from local partisans. The problem
invites self-censorship, says freelancer Enders. “It means anyone can
access everything you've written,” he says, “and that makes it more
difficult to write what you see.”
YouTube and
Facebook have undermined journalists as well, says Enders, by allowing
radical groups to gain a global voice via their own videos and postings.
That leaves traditional reporters less courted and protected than when
they were the world's essential eyes and ears. “Journalists just aren't
valued as highly as they used to be,” he says.
aggregators such as Spokeo — which build profiles of individuals based
on public records, market surveys and social media — also are proving
worrisome. “You have to assume that any abductor will know how old your
kids are, what your spouse looks like, how much your company earns, how
much your house is worth, your religion,” warns Smyth, the CPJ security
adviser, who is a former combat reporter and founder-director of the
training firm Global Journalist Security.
abductors are no idle concern, says former abductee Rohde. His Afghan
Taliban captors, he recalls, found the website of the five-employee
aviation consulting firm that his brother, Lee, runs. It showed him
standing before a jumbo jet. They told Rohde that his family could pay
the $15 million ransom they were demanding at the time if his brother
would sell the plane.
Lara Logan (Getty Images/Chris Hondros)  
Lara Logan of CBS News interviews American soldiers at Camp Victory in
Baghdad, Iraq, on Nov. 17, 2006. While covering a demonstration in
Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, in 2011, she was subjected to a mob
sexual assault. Afterwards, dozens of female journalists, and a few men,
came forward to report sexual violence while on assignment. (Getty Images/Chris Hondros)
precautions themselves can also be inhibiting. The Committee to Protect
Journalists, for example, advises women journalists not to look anyone
in the eye, not to look out a car window, not to wade into crowds, not
to chat up strangers, not to smile and not to ride in an elevator with a
lone man. It reflects a shockingly common and complicated problem:
Following the mob sexual assault of CBS correspondent Lara Logan during a
demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square in 2011, dozens of women
journalists, and a few men, came forward to report sexual violations
while on assignment. What had kept them silent, many said, was a fear
still unaddressed: that editors would deny them future assignments.
also should not make appointments or conduct interviews by any
electronic means and should never use a satellite phone for more than 10
minutes from one location. Then they should never go back to that
location, CPJ warns, because satellite-phones use positioning data that
can reveal the user's precise location.Footnote 47
celebrated American reporter Marie Colvin worked and slept at a
makeshift press center in Homs, Syria, where a satellite phone was
heavily used.Footnote 48
For the Syrian artillerymen who killed her and French freelance
photographer Remi Ochlik there the next morning, Feb. 22, 2012, the
phone “was basically a homing beacon,” according to Marius Bosch, global
chief for information security at Thomson Reuters.
Also hard to resolve is the need for better protection from government-sponsored or otherwise hostile hackers.
analysts suggest several reasons why news organizations aren't more
careful about this fast-emerging risk. For one thing, most journalism
schools don't teach communications security, according to a recent Columbia Journalism Review article.Footnote 49
addition, IT departments at news organizations usually don't know much
about encryption for journalists, says Quinn Norton, a freelance
computer science and technology writer and consultant based in
Cambridge, Mass., and San Francisco.
Norton says, reporters would rather not stop talking when they suspect a
communications system has been compromised. Instead, she frets, they'll
continue after a blithe, “‘I pray no one is listening in, but….’”Footnote 50
organizations also ignore physical safety, says British freelance
advocate Smith. “First aid training is absolutely essential, but the
news industry has been unable to show any leadership here, not even to
adopt standards,” he says. “They haven't done anything for freelancers
when it comes to safety except wring their hands.”

Risk and Responsibility

freelancers have become bigger contributors to newsgathering, they've
taken on a disproportionate share of the risks involved in covering
combat. “There are few freelances who feel that they can afford the
level of safety that the industry provides to its staffs,” Smith says.
“And there's always the issue, if a freelance photographer gets hurt,
whether the outlets to which he's been selling have any level of
responsibility.” (TV news divisions are more likely than newspapers to
pay up, he adds.)
CJR's investigation of who bears freelancers' combat risks found that major news organizations would, as a USA Today editor put it, “stand by them if they encounter trouble.”Footnote 51
But freelancers paid by the story or photo, as most are, are expected
to fend for themselves when it comes to training. At the same time, news
organizations are the main donors to CPJ, INSI, RISC and other groups
concerned with journalists' welfare.
There seems to
be progress, however, on one sensitive front: News organizations are
taking more responsibility for local hires once a conflict is over. Only
one organization helped its local people get out of Bosnia, Smith
recalls, while the rest left Croatian staff who had assisted “the hated
foreigners” to fend for themselves. By comparison, when the Iraq War
endangered local staff, many Western bureaus in Baghdad helped Iraqis
resettle in the United States, Jordan and elsewhere.
observers worry that what endangers journalists endangers journalism.
The extreme lethality of reporting from inside Syria, for example, plus
the government's refusal to grant visas to most foreign reporters, has
led Western news organizations to depend heavily on “citizen
journalists” — partisans allied with the Syrian resistance. The
journalistic risk is clear from video out-takes shot in the city of Homs
last year just before a “citizen journalist” there named Danny Dayem
was to brief CNN's Anderson Cooper on the day's bloodshed. The out-takes
show Dayem, a Syrian Liberation Army ally, dickering with colleagues
over how many dead to report to Cooper. (“50 wounded and four dead?”
“No, 25 dead,” “Yes, it's 150 wounded and 25 dead.”)Footnote 52
should have deleted that stuff,” Dayem later confessed. Another
journalist-activist covering Homs, Omar Tellawi, was caught faking a
video by burning a truck tire to simulate battlefield smoke. “Homs was
being pounded and we wanted the world to take notice,” Tellawi
explained.Footnote 53
Dayem's partisans suffered heavy casualties for defying the al-Assad
regime. But their pleading for Western intervention were largely
unavailing. Indeed, when their appeals for international support were
loudest, between March and December 2012, U.S. public opinion on the
question of intervention in Syria remained unchanged at 2-to-1 against.Footnote 54
might have shifted, CPJ executive director Simon speculates, if the
regime's bloody repression had been better documented by Western
journalists whom al-Assad effectively banned from Syria in 2011–12. And
from that possibility, Simon draws a dark lesson: “If I were a
repressive government, looking at what the Syrians did and asking
whether it was better to kill a few journalists or take a hands-off
approach and let them come in and document what's happening, you could
make the case that their brutal information strategy worked.”

Ascending Risk

rates from armed conflicts today tend to be higher for journalists and
other civilians than for troops, observes Moeller of the University of
Maryland. That's a turn-about from a century ago, she notes, when troops
shed the blood, nine times out of 10, and spared civilians.
The increased risk is greatest in conflicts that pit armies against popular resistance movements.
Experts foresee other trends as well:
  • Conflict
    photographers will face more risk, writers less. “It's due to enormous
    increases in the need for visuals for home pages,” says photojournalist
    Kamber. His writing days in Iraq, he recalls, tended to be low-risk:
    spent behind a desk, updating a blog or the morning edition on the Web
    or taking cell phone feeds for stories. “But if you were a photographer,
    the pressure was on to be out on the street every day, and [that] was
    way, way more dangerous.” A second reason for photography's ascending
    risk: more conflict writers, especially online journalists, shoot their
    own photos.
  • More journalists
    will be killed in countries where censorship suddenly lifts. Cooper, at
    the Columbia School of Journalism, cites former Soviet states as an
    example. “Reprisal killings were not a factor in journalists' lives
    before the early '90s, because they were so tightly controlled there was
    never a reason to kill them for their work,” says Cooper. Press freedom
    — which gave journalists the chance to take sides in politics, offend
    new leaders and threaten corrupt elites — also gave rise to targeted
  • More journalists
    will be targeted as partisans. In Iraq, foes picked off scores of
    journalists working for news organizations linked to rival political
    parties or religious factions. In Syria, nearly all of the 35
    journalists killed last year were partisans on one side or the other:
    roughly half allied with the resistance and half employed by state or
    pro-state media.Footnote 55
    Partisan journalists have no claim to traditional protection as
    neutrals. But like other journalists, they are easily spotted and
    typically unarmed, and their killings send an outsized message.
  • More
    journalists who work online will be suppressed. A quarter of the 101
    journalists killed in 2012 worked online, as did half of the 232
    journalists who were jailed, according to the Committee to Protect
    Journalists. Both were record highs, says CPJ's Smyth. The surge in
    attacks on online journalists was sudden — the first was killed in 2000.
    And it will continue, Smyth predicts. Online journalists and “citizen
    journalists” also tend to be young. In Syria last year, journalists
    killed included a 17-year-old, a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old.Footnote 56
of journalists have spiked so sharply in recent years that they would
remain near historic highs even if they were to abate, experts say. The
Associated Press, for example, founded in 1843, suffered nine of its
total 32 deaths in the 21st century. The Reuters division of Thomson
Reuters, founded in 1851, suffered 11 of its 30 deaths in the same
period; the BBC, founded in 1922, eight of its 21.Footnote 57
the best conflict reporters will always defy and provoke authorities.
As Roy Gutman, winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for exposing Serb-run
concentration camps in Bosnia, working then for Newsday and now for McClatchy, puts it: “If they don't want me there, that's where I want to be.”
Has embedding of reporters with troops been a success?


Maj. Scot Keith
Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army; Embed Coordinator for Eastern Afghanistan, 2009–2010. Written for CQ Researcher, April 2013
the last decade, the Department of Defense (DOD) media-embed program
led to thousands of reporters spending time with U.S. military units
around the world. These embed opportunities provided reporters with
unparalleled access to military operations and gave the public a
first-hand look into how our service members conduct operations, provide
humanitarian support, fight and live in a deployed environment.
current embed program represents a dramatic departure from the press
pools, daily briefings and media embargoes of previous conflicts. The
program focuses on placing reporters with military units at all levels
and across the services. It is also the first time the Pentagon
attempted to grant large-scale access to the media from the onset of an
Embedding reporters with the
military is an effective way of meeting the DOD's requirement of
providing timely and accurate information to the public via the news
media. Creating access to the information as it unfolds on the ground
affords media members the opportunity to report what they observe, often
in real time. This access has helped to increase the transparency of
the military and build trust with the American people. This type of
independent reporting has also helped to prevent misinformation and
disinformation from distorting the facts of an event.
2009, the Regional Command-East of the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) — the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan — alone
hosted more than 250 media embeds in 12 months. These included nearly
400 journalists and authors from Afghanistan, the United States and
In addition to reporting on
combat operations, the media provided coverage of ISAF forces
collaborating with their Afghan counterparts as well as coverage of
development and governance projects. This coverage helped to provide the
international community with better insight into the full scope of
operations in the region and provided broader exposure than the military
could have achieved on its own.
The embed
program has also helped both the military and the media gain a better
understanding of one another. Over the last 10 years, the two groups
have developed an ever-growing corps of professionals who are
comfortable working together.
As the
military and the media move into the future, they should continue to
foster their relationships and develop the embed program. Both groups
must work together to capture the lessons learned from the last decade
and be prepared to capitalize on opportunities in the future.


Terry Anderson
Former Associated Press chief Middle East correspondent, held hostage in Beirut, Lebanon, for six years. Written for CQ Researcher, April 2013
policy of embedding civilian journalists with U.S. troops has been a
rousing success — for the military. For journalism and the American
public, not so much.
The relationship
between the media and the military has always been uneasy, often
hostile. Many officers today believe deeply that the reporting of the
Vietnam War, where journalists had free access to the battlefield,
“lost” that war after public opinion at home turned against it. Then
there is the clash between military sensibilities and journalistic
imperatives — on the showing of U.S. dead and wounded, for instance, and
the reporting of the sometimes less-than-admirable side of the military
But most fundamentally, there is
a deep divide between military values and goals and those of reporters.
Journalists' primary value is to find and tell the truth. The
military's highest value is accomplishing their mission with the fewest
soldiers' deaths. Telling the truth, or not, is a tactic. In addition,
top military officials increasingly view public opinion as part of the
overall “win” they are seeking. Thus, controlling information and image
is a major part of planning and executing a war.
the military, embedding was brilliant. By requiring journalists to
agree to certain “principles” before being allowed to accompany U.S.
forces, the military gained control over what would be reported.
resulting close-up views of “our guys” in the field made for fine TV
and impressive (and often admiring) writing. A reporter living with and
accompanying well-trained, highly motivated young soldiers into battle
could hardly help but admire them — and to see the war through their
eyes. But in both Iraq wars and in Afghanistan, while hundreds of
journalists “saw the war through their eyes,” who was seeing the wars'
impact on ordinary Iraqis and Afghans? Who was judging the effectiveness
of military operations?
The American public ended up with a very one-sided view of our two concurrent wars, and a pretty rosy one at that.
is not to denigrate the journalists who were embedded, or those who
covered the wars independently. Unfortunately, few American journalists
were among the latter. To understand the effect embedding had on the
war's reporting, you have only to compare American press accounts with
those of other newspapers and television outlets around the world,
including Al Jazeera, which provided a more balanced view of the war.
The difference is startling, and not to our benefit.
Before 1900New technology makes war news possible and profitable.
demonstrated. Reporters' dispatches make war news urgent and
competitive. Pricey telegraph dispatch rates during Civil War demand
tight writing.
newspapers send hundreds of reporters to cover Civil War; 16 die.
Papers that can afford extensive war reporting dominate their markets.
1862First photos of U.S. war dead, taken after battle of Antietam, shock visitors to Mathew Brady's Manhattan gallery.
journalists die in Spanish-American War, all from disease. Newspaper
publisher William Randolph Hearst, the war's leading proponent,
demonstrates that a small war can yield big circulation gains.
1899 New York Herald transmits first photo electronically via telegraph.
1900–1945Strict military censors (and cumbersome gear) keep war reporting safe and civilized.
1914-1918Two journalists die covering World War I, according to Newseum tally.
1939-1945Sixty-seven journalists die covering World War II.
1945Ernie Pyle, America's most popular World War II columnist, killed by Japanese machine-gun fire.
1950–2000Technology and market shifts increase war reporting's lethality.
War correspondents, uncensored for the first three months of chaotic
combat, write of “whipped and frightened GIs.” Twelve correspondents and
two photographers, die during that period. Two more die after military
control tightens.
journalists, including 27 Americans, die during Vietnam War.
Photographers and TV camera operators prove especially vulnerable.
launched; 24/7 news cycle begins, increasing demand for round-the-clock
coverage and increasing risks for conflict journalists, who are exposed
to more danger and for longer periods.
first Gulf War, a small Marine Corps force that gives reporters better
access to combat wins more news coverage than a bigger, busier Army
force. Proponents of embedding reporters with the military take note.
2001-PresentSmall wars kill fewer troops but more journalists. Electronic media increasingly drive coverage and risks.
2001-PresentTwenty-five journalists, including one American, killed in war in Afghanistan.
2002 Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl beheaded by al Qaeda in Pakistan.
total of 174 journalists, including two Americans, are killed in Iraq
War, seven of them embedded with Allied forces; 151 of the journalists
killed are Iraqis.
foreign news drops to half its 1987 level in U.S. newspapers — its
lowest known level — according to Project for Excellence in Journalism.
2004Western news organizations turn to local staff in Iraq to do most on-the-ground journalism.
News offers free access to news aggregated from newspapers, wire
services and broadcasters; this reduces news organizations' incentives
to provide high-cost foreign and conflict coverage.
the deadliest case ever of targeting journalists, gunmen in the
Philippines kill 32 journalists in one day. The politically powerful
Ampatuan family of Maguindanao Province is thought to be behind the
journalists — 35 Syrians and seven foreigners — are killed covering
Syrian civil war, including the distinguished American conflict reporter
Marie Colvin and French freelance photographer Remi Ochlik.
Short Features
The pressure to produce is incessant in the Internet Age.
photographer Robert Capa exerts a lethal charm over nearly every combat
photo shot to this day, even though he died nearly 60 years ago.
your photographs aren't good enough, you aren't close enough,” Capa
insisted. From the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) onward, he lived — and
died — by that rule. He was killed in May 1954 at age 40 by a landmine
while covering the French Indochina War.
then, scores of combat photographers have met Capa's end while following
his advice. Indeed, audacity is so prized among war photographers that
it's written into the field's most coveted award. The Robert Capa Gold
Medal is given by the Overseas Press Club of America for the best
photographic reporting from abroad “requiring exceptional courage and
Robert Capa (Gerda Taro)  
combat photographer Robert Capa was killed at age 40 by a landmine
while covering the French Indochina War in 1954. “If your photographs
aren't good enough, you aren't close enough,” he once said. (Gerda Taro)
2005 citation, awarded to Chris Hondros for his photos from the Iraq
War, reads: “The immediacy of these images places us inside the chilling
action in an Iraqi city under siege.” Six years later a mortar shell
killed the 41-year-old Hondros in Misrata, Libya, shortly after he shot a
firefight between Libyan rebels and government troops inside a burning
building.Footnote 1
of 50 winners of the Capa prize since 1955 later died doing their work,
making war photography, perhaps, the only field in which the best
practitioners suffer the highest death rate.
photography is so risky, explained the late photographer W. Eugene
Smith, who was wounded on Okinawa in 1945, because, “When the air is
full of lead, you have to stand up when anyone with any sense is lying
down and trying to disappear into the earth.”Footnote 2
terrifying a photo may seem, “Getting to a picture is 10 times more
dangerous than the picture itself,” noted Tyler Hicks, 43, a combat
photographer for The New York Times. Footnote 3
But photojournalists have no choice. A print reporter can play it safe
and still have the story, says former National Public Radio foreign
correspondent Ann Cooper, now a professor at the Columbia University
School of Journalism. “But if you're a shooter and you miss the image,
you're done.”
Pressure to produce is incessant
because many combat photographers are not on a publication's staff but
work on a freelance or contract basis. So the more they work, the more
they make — and the more risk they face. The accumulated risk stacks the
odds against photographers, says John Olson, of Chatham, N.Y., who won a
Capa award at age 19 for photos of the Vietcong attack on Hue in
Vietnam in 1968. “When I went, there were about 20 of us who were
serious about going out and making images,” Olson recalls. When he
returned two years later, “There were only 11 of us still alive.” The
dead tended to be more of the thrill-seekers, a motivation Olson well
understood. “After all, you're gambling with the most valuable thing you
have, which is your life.”
Of late, those risks
are on the rise because demand for conflict images is surging. “In the
Vietnam era, a strong photo would be on front pages all over, and people
would be talking about it for a week or longer,” says 49-year-old
Michael Kamber, a conflict photographer and writer. “Now, if a photo's
been on a home page for an hour, the page gets refreshed. And there's a
constant need to serve that: They want 10 photos in the morning, 10 more
in the afternoon. That's double what we were filing 10 years ago.”
a hungry young photojournalist, a hot market for war images sounds like
a terrific opportunity. “I have young kids, undergraduates, dying to go
to Syria,” says Gary Knight, a veteran combat photographer who teaches
photojournalism at Tufts University and in New York City. “I tell them
they're a coffin looking for a grave, but they go anyway.”
— Frank Greve
[1] To view his last day's work, go to: “Chris Hondros, at Work in Libya,” The New York Times, April 20, 2011,
[2] Susan D. Moeller, Shooting War: Photography and the American Experience of Combat (1989), p. 209.
Panel discussion, “Lives on the Line: Dispatches from Our War
Correspondents,” American Society of Newspaper Editors convention, April
2, 2012,
“I'm in another, higher gear, and it's marvelous.”
On the last day of her life, Marie Colvin of The Sunday Times of London reported the death by government shelling of a young boy in Homs, Syria.
night, she persuaded CNN's Anderson Cooper in New York to air an
amateur video of the 2-year-old's last heaving breaths. “For an audience
for which the conflict — any conflict — is very far away,” Colvin told
Cooper, “that baby probably will move more people to think, ‘What is
going on and why is no one stopping this murder in Homs that is
happening every day?’”Footnote 4
out for civilians trapped in wars was Colvin's calling. “If journalists
have a chance to save their lives, they should do so,” Colvin
contended, and she walked the walk: Colvin is credited with saving 1,500
besieged women and children in East Timor, in 1999 by sticking around
to publicize their plight after 22 other journalists left.Footnote 5
a Syrian rocket killed Colvin the morning after her Cooper interview,
she was 56, ancient for a conflict reporter. But her fate and
fearlessness were hardly unique.
For example, Chris
Hondros, a senior Getty Images staff photographer, shot a lot of
“bang-bang” — his trade's word for hot combat violence. He died at age
41 in Misrata, Libya, from a stray mortar shell while shooting images of
the Arab Spring revolts in 2011. But he was probably best known for his
images of the shooting of an Iraqi family by U.S. soldiers after their
car failed to stop at a checkpoint in Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq in
Syrian blogger “Jasmine” (AFP/Getty Images/Thomas Samson)  
Syrian blogger “Jasmine” accepted the 2012 Netizen Prize from Reporters
Without Borders and Google on behalf of anti-government activists in
Syria. (AFP/Getty Images/Thomas Samson)
very hard to say why war victims matter,” says Sarah Holewinski,
executive director of the nonprofit Center for Civilians in Conflict in
Washington, D.C. “But when they see Chris's photos, they get it.”Footnote 6
with Hondros was multimedia photojournalist Tim Hetherington, 40,
producer and director of the Afghan war documentary “Restrepo.” The
Academy Award-nominated film captures the humanity of a remote U.S.
platoon whose 15 members come under almost daily attack. Its effect was
“to create an enduring connection between the U.S. public and the
experience of the U.S. soldier,” wrote critic and combat photographer
James Brabazon of London's The Guardian.
purposes aside, why do so many combat journalists wade into danger
until it kills them? One reason is an ethos of traditional journalism:
“There is simply no other way to tell … whether the war is working,
whether the cost in blood and treasure is worth it, except to be there,”
wrote Bill Keller, then-executive editor of The New York Times. Footnote 7 That was in 2009 after Times reporter David Rohde survived his abduction in Pakistan.
who was abducted by a Taliban commander who had agreed to an interview
for a book Rohde was writing, offers a more prosaic reason: “I went
because I was competing with other journalists, not at some editor's
demand,” Rohde says. “Other journalists had interviewed Taliban leaders.
I hadn't. And I felt my book would be incomplete without it.”
journalists have died in combat taking risks that colleagues said
editors had forced on them. For example, Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora, an
award-winning camera operator for AP Television News, was killed in an
ambush in Sierra Leone in 2000. Moreno considered the disputed jungle
road on which he was killed too dangerous to travel, co-workers told
Peter Maas, a writer for the now-defunct journalism magazine Brill's Content. Footnote 8
But days before Moreno's death, Maas reported, Moreno's editors had
complained to him that Reuters, their main competitor, was beating him
too often. And when a Reuters team arrived and took the fatal road,
Moreno followed.
It's possible that combat
journalists are more risk-tolerant because they are predominantly
unmarried. Colvin, thrice wed, died single, as did Hondros, Hetherington
and Moreno.
An in-depth survey of conflict
reporters found that 45 percent were married, compared with two-thirds
of non-combat journalists of similar age and four-fifths of the general
population of comparable age. Conflict journalists, both male and
female, also were found to drink more, use more drugs, and show symptoms
resembling post-traumatic stress disorder as often as combat troops.Footnote 9
every combat journalist admits being addicted to the adrenal high of
danger. “Walking through the valley of death and coming to the other
side over and over again. Man, what a rush,” wrote veteran TV cameraman
Jon Steele.Footnote 10
“When I'm actually taking part in an action, it's always as though I'm
three martinis up. I'm in another, higher, gear and it's marvelous,”
recalled Chris Dobson of London's Daily Mail. “There's something fantastically exhilarating about being terrified out of your wits,” confessed Peter Gill of the Daily Telegraph. Footnote 11
“War is a drug, one I ingested for many years,” wrote former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges.Footnote 12
Writing about Kurt Schork, a Reuters writer killed with Moreno, he
says, “Those of us who knew him understood that he had been consumed by
his addiction.”Footnote 13
men, especially, are wired to chase adrenalin, says Sebastian Junger,
co-producer and director of “Restrepo,” who embedded with Hetherington
in the same U.S. Army platoon in Afghanistan. “Guys there would be
crawling out of their skins if they'd gone a few days without combat,”
Junger recalls. “I remember a lieutenant walking by who said he was
dying for somebody to shoot at us. He was putting into words what I'd
been feeling, what all the guys had been feeling.”
— Frank Greve
[4] “Marie Colvin's final CNN interview,” YouTube Feb. 22, 2012,
[5] Roy Greenslade, “Marie Colvin Obituary,” The Guardian, Feb. 22, 2012,
[6] To view the photo series, narrated by Hondros, go to: Click on Iraq, then on “The Tal Afar Incident.”
[7] Bill Keller and David Rohde, “Q. and A.: Held by the Taliban,” (blog) , Oct. 19, 2009,
[8] Peter Maas, “Deadly Competition,” Brill's Content, September 2000,
[9] Anthony Feinstein, Journalists Under Fire: The Psychological Hazards of Covering War (2006).
[10] John Maxwell Hamilton, Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting (2009), p. 326.
[11] Both Dobson and Gill quoted in Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty (2004), p. 448.
[12] Ibid., p. 325.
[13] Chris Hedges, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning (2002), p. 170.


Evans, Harold , War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict From the Crimea to Iraq , Bunker Hill Publishing, 2003. A former London Sunday Times editor and author provides an overview of the history of conflict journalism.
Feinstein, Anthony , Journalists Under Fire: The Psychological Hazards of Covering War , The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. A University of Toronto neuropsychiatrist investigates the psychic wounds journalists suffer in covering war.
Hedges, Chris , War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning , Public Affairs, 2002. A veteran foreign correspondent for The New York Times and others explores the addiction to conflict reporting from which he's recovering.
Loyd, Anthony , My War Gone By, I Miss It So , Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999. An ex-British Army officer, who became chief war correspondent for The Times of London, explains why he loved covering wars in Bosnia and Chechnya.
Kamber, Michael , Photojournalists at War: The Untold Stories from Iraq , University of Texas Press, 2013. A photojournalist who covered Iraq for The New York Times, both as a photographer and writer, interviews other photojournalists on what they did to get their photos and survive.
Morozov, Evgeny , The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom , Public Affairs, 2011. A
leading Internet futurist explains how digital communication technology
helps repressive governments curb journalists and activists.


Engel, Richard , “The Hostage,” Vanity Fair, April 2013, NBC's
chief foreign correspondent chronicles his deadly gunpoint abduction in
Syria-and how hostage training helped him survive.
Faris, Stephan , “The Hackers of Damascus,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Nov. 15, 2012, A well-connected journalist reveals how Syrian government cyberwarriors have bloodied careless activists.

Santo, Alysia , “Reporting from the battlefield, uninsured: Freelances
on the frontlines operate with little or no institutional support,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 21,2012,
A former assistant editor at CJR asks freelancers why they go into combat without insurance protection and asks editors why they let them.
Wolfe, Lauren , “The silencing crime: Sexual violence and journalists,” Committee to Protect Journalists, June 7, 2011, A
CPJ senior editor persuades dozens of other abused women journalists to
speak out following a Cairo mob's sexual assault of CBS correspondent
Lara Logan in February 2011.

Reports and Studies

“Killing the Messenger: Report of the Global Inquiry by the
International News Safety Institute into the Protection of Journalists,”
International News Safety Institute, March 2007, with annual updates,
leading safety organization offers a statistic-rich analysis of threats
to conflict journalists, including car-crashes and suicides.

“Setting the Standard: A Commitment to Frontline Journalism; An
Obligation to Frontline Journalism,” The Freedom Forum European Centre,
Sept. 20, 2000,
This early and candid round-table discussion features leaders of the movement to make conflict journalism safer.

Aday, Sean, et al., “Blogs and Bullets II: New Media and Conflict After
the Arab Spring,” United States Institute of Peace, 2012,
Eminent media thinkers assess how the Arab Spring changed conflict journalism.

Sambrook, Richard , “Are Foreign Correspondents Redundant?: The
Changing Face of International News,” Reuters Institute for the Study of
Journalism, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford
University, 2010,
The BBC's former top international editor writes an obit for traditional foreign reporting and assesses what is replacing it.

Smyth, Frank, and Danny O'Brien , “CPJ Journalist Security Guide:
Covering the News in a Dangerous and Changing World,” Committee to
Protect Journalists, 2012,
journalism-security specialists offer advice on how to remain safe,
revealing indirectly how treacherous conflict journalism has become.
The Next Step

Censorship and Press Freedom

Carr, David , “Using War As Cover to Target Journalists,” The New York Times, Nov. 26, 2012, p. B1, Government officials and their allies are responsible for about a third of the murders of journalists worldwide.
Londono, Ernesto , “Syria Said to Be Holding American Journalist,” The Washington Post, Aug. 31, 2012, p. A16, Syria has reportedly detained an American freelance journalist and several groups are calling for his release.
Peterson, Scott , “Amid Iraq violence, journalists struggle about government control,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 2012, Iraqi journalists are struggling with increasing government censorship as they try to cover their nation's conflict.


Bhatti, Jabeen, and Portia Walker , “A Window on Syria's Bloodbath,” USA Today, Feb. 23, 2012, p. A1, Syrian
journalists hope that spreading information about the brutality of the
al-Assad regime will save the lives of citizens and prompt international
intervention in the insurgency.
Fesperman, Dan , “Strange Days on the Front,” The Baltimore Sun, May 13, 2012, p. 64, A former war correspondent for The Baltimore Sun explains the high and low points of his reporting career.
Johnson, Reed , “A Writer Leaves War Behind,” Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2011, p. D1, A journalist has decided to stop reporting from combat zones after a photojournalist friend was killed.

Safety and Risks

Ellingwood, Ken , “Mexico News Companies Agree to Drug War Coverage Guidelines,” The Baltimore Sun, March 25, 2011, Mexican media companies have agreed on safety guidelines to reduce the risks for journalists covering the drug war.
Filipov, David , “In War, Every Path a Risk,” The Boston Globe, Jan. 6, 2013, p. A1, Reporting
has become more dangerous in war zones because it's difficult for
journalists to identify who is fighting for which factions, says a war
Llana, Sara Miller , “Is Mexico's Drug Violence Scaring Off the Next Generation of Journalists?” The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 11, 2012, Drug violence in Mexico has led some aspiring journalists to re-think their career choice.


Gyllenhaal, Anders, and Marcus Brauchli , “Risking Their Lives For the Truth,” Centre Daily Times (Pa.), Dec. 24, 2012. Uprisings
in the Middle East have attracted freelance journalists who can present
their stories through Twitter, YouTube and other social media.
Johnson, Tim , “Mexicans Turn to Social Media for News About Drug Crimes,” McClatchy, May 31, 2011, More Mexicans are turning to social media and “citizen journalists” to keep current with the country's drug war.
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Harvard University, 23 Everett St., 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138
A think tank on, among other things, citizen journalism and issues of online privacy, security and risk.
Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Ave., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001
The world's leading advocacy group for press freedom.
Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism, 2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

A project dedicated to innovative and ethical news reporting on
violence, conflict and tragedy; provides techniques and risks of
reporting on traumatic events.
The Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial
Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001
Maintains the most complete historical tally of journalists' deaths.
The International News Safety Institute
Thomson Reuters Building, 30 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5EP, UK
+44 7766 814274
Advocates for risk reduction in conflict reporting.
Project for Excellence in Journalism
1615 L St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036
Measures news media performance.
Reporters Without Borders
47 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France
Monitors risks to journalists, as seen from a uniquely French perspective.
[1] Anthony Feinstein, Journalists Under Fire: The Psychological Hazards of Covering War (2006), p. 94.
[2] Analysis based on “Journalists Killed Since 1992,” Committee to Protect Journalists,
[3] Newseum Journalists Memorial,
3. Newseum Journalists Memorial,
[4] “Journalists Killed Since 1992,” op. cit.
[5] For background, see Peter Katel, “Mexico's Future,” CQ Researcher, Oct. 26, 2012, pp. 913–940; and “Mexico's Drug War,” CQ Researcher, Dec. 12, 2008, pp. 1009–1032.
5. For background, see Peter Katel, “Mexico's Future,” CQ Researcher, Oct. 26, 2012, pp. 913–940; and “Mexico's Drug War,” CQ Researcher, Dec. 12, 2008, pp. 1009–1032.
[6] Mike O'Connor, “El Mañana cedes battle to report on Mexican Violence,” CPJ Blog, May 2012,
6. Mike O'Connor, “El Mañana cedes battle to report on Mexican Violence,” CPJ Blog, May 2012,
Two such killings are caught on a disturbing 10-minute video shot from
an Apache helicopter whose crew mistook the telephoto lens of Reuters
photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen for an anti-armor weapon; his driver/
assistant, Saeed Chmagh, also died. The video, withheld from Reuters by
the Pentagon but included in the trove of classified materials released
by Wikileaks, can be viewed at
Two such killings are caught on a disturbing 10-minute video shot from
an Apache helicopter whose crew mistook the telephoto lens of Reuters
photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen for an anti-armor weapon; his driver/
assistant, Saeed Chmagh, also died. The video, withheld from Reuters by
the Pentagon but included in the trove of classified materials released
by Wikileaks, can be viewed at
[8] Ann Scott Tyson, “Military's Killing of 2 Journalists in Iraq Detailed in New Book,” The Washington Post, Sept. 15, 2009,
[9] “Tributes to Anthony Shadid in Video and in Writing,” The New York Times, Feb. 17, 2012, “At War: Notes From the Front Lines,” New York Times blog, Feb. 17, 2012,
[10] John Cook, “Dead New York Times Reporter Anthony Shadid Allegedly Told His Wife: ‘The Times Killed Me,’” Gawker, June 25, 2012. A YouTube video of the allegations is at
[11] Alysia Santo, “Reporting from the battlefield, uninsured,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 21, 2012,
[12] Ibid.
12. Ibid.
[13] “Which Way Is the Front Line from Here?: The Life and Times of Tim Hetherington,” scheduled to air April 18, 2013, on HBO.
13. “Which Way Is the Front Line from Here?: The Life and Times of Tim Hetherington,” scheduled to air April 18, 2013, on HBO.
[14] See Liohn's comments under Michael Kamber, “Photographing Conflict For the First Time,” The New York Times Lens Blog, Oct. 25, 2011,
[15] Anthony Loyd, My War Gone By, I Miss it So (1999), p. 22.
[16] “Dr. Edward Shadid's Remarks on Anthony Shadid at ADC Convention,” ADC, YouTube, June 25, 2012.
16. “Dr. Edward Shadid's Remarks on Anthony Shadid at ADC Convention,” ADC, YouTube, June 25, 2012.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Panel discussion: “War and Conflict Reporting,” American Society of News Editors, C-Span, April 2, 2012,
[19] “From Baghdad: A Wall Street Journal Reporter's E-mail to Friends,” Common Dreams, Sept. 30, 2004,
[20] “Iraq Body Count,”
20. “Iraq Body Count,”
Richard Sambrook, “Are Foreign Correspondents Redundant? The Changing
Face of International News,” Reuters Institute for the Study of
Journalism, Oxford University, December 2010, p. 92.
[22] Ibid., p. 3.
[23] Solana Larsen, “In 2013, there will be no foreign correspondents,” Solanasaurus blog, Aug. 4, 2008,
“Deciphering User-Generated Content in Transitional Societies: A Syrian
Coverage Case Study,” The Center for Global Communication Studies,
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, March
2012, p. 33.
[25] For background, see Kenneth Jost, “Unrest in the Arab World,” CQ Researcher, Feb. 1, 2013, pp. 105–132.
[26] Sean Aday, et al., “Blogs and Bullets II: New Media and Conflict After the Arab Spring,” United States Institute of Peace, July 2012,
[27] Ibid., p. 9.
[28] “Economist Debates: The News Industry,” The Economist, July 12, 2011,
[29] Quoted in Sherry Ricchiardi, “Playing Defense,” American Journalism Review, June/July 2012,
[30] For background, see Roland Flamini, “Improving Cybersecurity,” CQ Researcher, Feb. 15, 2013, pp. 157–180.
[31] Evgeny Morozov, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (2011), p. 27.
[32] Ibid., p. 150.
[33] Matthieu Aikins, “The spy who came in from the code,” Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 2012,
33. Matthieu Aikins, “The spy who came in from the code,” Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 2012,
[34] Ibid.
Peter Eckersley, “Surveillance Self-Defense International: 6 Ideas for
Those Needing Defensive Technology to Protect Free Speech from
Authoritarian Regimes,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, July 2009,
[36] Ricchiardi, op. cit.
[37] Stephan Faris, “The Hackers of Damascus,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Nov. 15, 2012,
The Newseum's Journalist Memorial names only eight. Historian J. Cutler
Andrews adds eight more, unnamed, who “died of camp diseases” in his
definitive history, The North Reports the Civil War (1955), p. 73.
[39] Andrews, p. 73.
[40] Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty (2004), pp. 451, 456.
40. Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty (2004), pp. 451, 456.
[41] Alex Thomson, “Set up to be shot in Syria's no man's land,” June 8, 2012,
41. Alex Thomson, “Set up to be shot in Syria's no man's land,” June 8, 2012,
[42] For background on Engel's abduction, see, Richard Engel, “The Hostage,” Vanity Fair, April 2013,
[43] David Carr, “Using War as Cover to Target Journalists,” The New York Times, Nov. 25, 2012,
[44] Frank Smyth, “Murdering with Impunity,” Harvard International Review, Nov. 14, 2010,
[45] Kate Hodal, “Philippines massacre: three years on, victims families still waiting for justice,” The Guardian, Nov. 22, 2012,
“Killing the Messenger: Report of the Global Inquiry by the
International News Safety Institute Into the Protection of Journalists,”
International News Safety Institute, March 2007, p. 47,
“Killing the Messenger: Report of the Global Inquiry by the
International News Safety Institute Into the Protection of Journalists,”
International News Safety Institute, March 2007, p. 47,
[47] Examples are from “Journalist Security Guide,” Committee to Protect Journalists,
[48] Marie Brenner, “Maria Colvin's Private War,” Vanity Fair, August 2012, p. 98,
[49] Alysia Santo, “Teaching Cyber-Security,” Columbia Journalism Review, Jan. 24, 2012,
“Protecting Journalism: Anonymous and Secure Communications for
Reporters and Sources,” Yale Law School conference, Nov. 29, 2012.
[51] Santo, ibid.
Jonathan Miller, UK Channel 4 TV News, March 27, 2012, video segment
picked up by Mike Giglio, “Syrians Caught Embellishing Tape,” The Daily Beast, March 27, 2012, For more challenges to Syrian resistance reporting, see Jess Hill, “Syria's Propaganda War,” The Global Mail, April 12, 2012, See also, “Navigating Syria's Slippery Narratives,” Al Jazeera, April 14, 2012,
[53] Quoted by Miller on “Navigating Syria's Slippery Narratives,” ibid.
“Public Says U.S. Does Not Have Responsibility to Act in Syria,” Pew
Research Center for the People & the Press, Dec. 14, 2012,
[55] Analysis based on data in “Journalists Killed in Syria,” Committee to Protect Journalists,
[56] Frank Smyth, “Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists,” CPJ Journalist Security Blog, Dec. 19, 2012, See also, “Number of jailed journalists sets global record,” Committee to Protect Journalists, Dec. 11, 2012,
[57] Newseum data.
About the Author
Frank Greve, author of this week's edition of CQ Researcher  
Frank Greve
worked for Knight Ridder and McClatchy Newspapers from 1977 to 2010,
mainly as an investigative reporter and assistant national editor. He
won a prestigious George Polk award for political reporting in 1985 and a
Sigma Delta Chi award for political reporting in 1987. Greve also
taught reporting and editing at the University of Maryland's Philip
Merrill College of Journalism. He holds a bachelor's degree, with
honors, in English from Amherst College.

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