Reporting From Iraq: More Dangerous Than Ever
By Steve McClellan -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/16/2004 8:00:00 PM
In January, a CNN production team traveling in two cars came under fire from Iraqi insurgents who raced up beside them. What unfolded, at 100 miles per hour, was a full-blown firefight between guards riding with the CNN team and the carload of pistol-packing Iraqis.
The CNN cars were riddled with more than 50 bullet holes. Two CNN staffers, both Iraqi nationals, were killed.
According to CNN President of Newsgathering Eason Jordan, counting all news organizations, the lives of 40 journalists and other news division employees have been lost in Iraq since the conflict began. The total is "extraordinary," he says, "especially when you compare it to the 60-some journalists killed in Vietnam but over a 10-year period." (The Committee to Protect Journalists says 27 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the war began.)
Kimberly Dozier, the CBS News correspondent reporting from Baghdad, tries to reassure herself that "I'm not the target. They don't want me especially if they don't realize I'm American."
But, although that was true before, she admits that it's no longer the case in Iraq. "Now they just don't care. All they care about is that you're foreign and a symbol and they're going to use it to get their way. They don't seem to care about world public opinion or being seen as too brutal. That all went out the window with Falluja," where four security agents were killed and dismembered six weeks ago.
The Falluja incident prompted the networks to begin working together in unprecedented ways. There is now a continuous pool that all contribute to and rely on for pictures and reporting. The networks also hold teleconferences several times a week to trade information about trouble spots to avoid and other safety issues.
"This is as dangerous as I've ever seen it," ABC News correspondent David Wright told B&C. "When we haven't been restricted to the hotel, we've been sticking pretty close to home."
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