NBC, CNN to open Baghdad bureaus


NBC and CNN said Monday they would be opening bureaus in Baghdad --
reopening in the case of CNN -- to cover the transition to new government
following the war.

'Will it [the transition] get as much air as the war itself?' asked NBC News
Vice President Bill Wheatley, speaking to a Radio-TV News Directors Association
panel in Las Vegas. 'Probably not. That's the nature of journalism. But it will
get airtime.'

CNN has had a bureau in Baghdad for 12 years, but it was booted last month by
the Iraqi government.

The network's VP for newsgathering said it would be reopened and bolstered.

Responding to questions from the Poynter Institute's Jill Geisler, Jordan
noted that CNN's international networks take a different perspective from its
domestic ones in war coverage.

Coverage on the international nets, he said, reflect much more the view of
nations that don't favor the U.S. policy.

Jordan noted that CNN's Web site, which is sharing content and promotion with
The New York Times, is getting 50 million page views a day.

Panelist Will Wright, the head of BET News, also said that his network made
sure to give voice to 'Moslem-Americans and Arab-Americans' and 'included
opinions from ministers to Imams.' But, he added, 'it would not be fair to say
that our newscasts represent a negative view of the war,' but rather one with
more contrasting viewpoints.

Wheatley said that he and his colleagues at NBC were 'heartbroken' at the
death in Iraq of David Bloom, a reporter who was clearly hitting a peak in an
already impressive career. 'We're deeply troubled and we grieve with our staff,
but at the same time we're all cognizant that we have a war to cover.'

Victoria Clarke, assistant secretary of defense for
public affairs, also spoke from Washington by phone and said there were no
regrets regarding the Pentagon's historic program of embedding 600 reporters
with troops. 'The net results are positive,' she said.