RTDNA President Calls For Conversations About Safety
Calls assault on CBS correspondent Lara Logan 'incomprehensible'
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/18/2011 10:45:15 AM
Radio-Television Digital News Association President Mark Kraham is sending a letter to members Friday expressing his deep concern about continuing "assaults, obstructions and detentions" of journalists covering conflicts in the Middle East, but also his concern about covering the home front.
The Committee to Protect Journalists documented more than 140 assaults on journalists in Egypt, and this week CPJ said they continue in coverage of unrest in Bahrain, Yemen and Iraq. ABC News reporter Miguel Marquez was beaten Thursday while covering a protest in Bahrain.
Kraham says finding the balancing point between safety and telling a "full, unmitigated story" will continue to be a case-by-case judgment call, but that station executives need to get together with their staffers to talk about how they make that call.
Kraham, who is a local TV news director himself, suggests the issue is not one reserved for national correspondents covering protests abroad. "Even on the local level, journalists are subject to covering an array of stories that put them in real danger: fires, crashes, police stand-offs, demonstrations, hurricanes, earthquakes," he says. "The list is vast and presents hundred of questions: 'How close to the fire or standoff is too close for the journalist's safety?' or 'Is walking among the protesters essential to telling this story?'"
"My hope is not that you find a specific, clear cut answer," to those questions, he says, "but, rather, spend some time discussing with your news team the best way to approach dangerous-story coverage and instill in them the understanding that there are situations where safety should not be sacrificed for reporting vigilance and vice-versa."
Responding to the brutal attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan, Kraham called it disgusting and incomprehensible, and said it demonstrated "the worst humanity can sometimes offer."
"I personally offer Lara the best in her recovery and extend a gracious 'thank you' for her intrepid reporting on behalf of the entire RTDNA board and membership."
RTDNA represents more than 3,000 news directors, associates, teachers and students.
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