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Committed to the First Amendment 3/30/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

The Deadly Risks of War Journalism

The deaths of two journalists in Iraq last week, with several more missing in action, reminds us once again of the dangers many journalists routinely face. Terry Lloyd, 50, an unembedded correspondent for Britain's ITN, was killed while covering the advance to Basra. According to ITN, Lloyd had been the first to record Saddam Hussein's gassing of Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988, images that have been seen frequently in the run-up to the present conflict. The news agency said Lloyd was leading a four-man crew outside Basra on March 22 when two Iraqi vehicles drew alongside. "At that moment they were fired upon, apparently by British or U.S. forces aiming at the Iraqis," said ITN. The crew's four-wheel-drive vehicles had "TV" markings on the sides, but, ITN said, "it is not known if these were visible from the British and U.S. positions." Cameraman Daniel Demoustier was also injured and at press time two other staffers, French cameraman Fred Nerac and Lebanese translator Hussein Osman, were missing. Also killed on the same day in a separate incident was Paul Moran, 39, from Australian broadcaster ABC TV network. He died in a suicide bombing believed associated with an Al Qaeda-linked group. Moran and correspondent Eric Campbell were in the Northern Iraq town of Sayed Sadiq to cover fighting between Kurds and Iraqi militants. Campbell said Moran had gone ahead to film the final shots for the story when a taxi pulled alongside him and exploded.

With some Iraqi's apparently fighting from the backs of pickups and SUV's, the difficulty in separating friend from foe in this war is great. There are many ways to die. Yet, war correspondents continue to risk their lives to report it.

The Wow! Factor

Take this test. Walk into a Circuit City or Best Buy and look at the rows of HDTV monitors and compare them to the conventional sets on display. If you don't say "Wow!" they're not doing their jobs. High-definition television properly showcased is stop-you-in-your-tracks impressive, especially alongside traditional resolution. At the current price point of a thousand dollars to many thousands, it needs to be impressive if retailers hope to sell many. But in too many stores, the HDTV display looks no better than an average projection TV and is thus nearly indistinguishable from traditional sets. That is why we are encouraged by Sears's decision to standardize the in-store displays of its HDTV sets. All 870 stores will get an HD satellite feed. The programming, says Sears, will include sports, concert footage, movie trailers and probably ads. Our advice is to make it heavy on the sports and concerts, and make sure to throw in some of those babbling brook/Forbidden City documentaries. When you can put someone in the middle of a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert or in the lane with Shaq, you've got 'em hooked.

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