"Embedded" Journalists Change Their Minds

Discussion in 'Politics' started by carpro, May 23, 2007.

  1. carpro

    carpro
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    http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110010083

    'I Love Those Guys'
    Embedded journalists in Iraq are having their minds changed left and right by U.S. soldiers.

    BY JEFF EMANUEL
    Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT


    excerpt


    Operation Iraqi Freedom saw the advent of a practice that revolutionized modern war reporting: the embedding of journalists with frontline combat units in war. This practice gave the media, the American public and the world unprecedented access to the soldiers on the front lines, as well as to the war itself, through the filing of stories, photographs and video from the battlefront in real time, by reporters who were right there with the soldiers doing the fighting. "We were offered an irresistible opportunity: free transportation to the front line of the war, dramatic pictures, dramatic sounds, great quotes," said Tom Gjelten of National Public Radio. "Who can pass that up?"

    While the military also benefited from having an eager outlet for its stories and successes, the biggest result of the embedding process was the shift it caused in the relationship between the military and the media, which laid the groundwork for a fundamental change in the dynamics of war reporting. As Maj. Gen. Buford Blount of the Army's Third Infantry Division explained, "A level of trust developed between the soldier and the media that offered nearly unlimited access."

    SNIP

    While I was at the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad on my recent trip to Iraq, a pair of Spanish journalists--a newspaper reporter and a photojournalist--walked in, fresh from their embed with the 1-4 Cavalry of the First Infantry Division (the unit with which I embedded only days later). They had spent two weeks amongst the troops there, living and going on missions with them, including house-to-house searches and seizures, and their impressions of these soldiers were extremely clear.

    "Absolutely amazing," said David Beriain, the reporter (and the one who spoke English), said of the young Cavalry troops. "In Spain, it is embarrassing--our soldiers are ashamed to be in the army. These young men--and they seem so young!--are so proud of what they do, and do it so well, even though it is dangerous and they could very easily be killed."
     

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