January 30, 2003

Unleash the Reporters of War

Jim Moscu writes in Editor and Publisher that he detects a disturbing excitement in some newsrooms about the prospect of covering what now seems to be the inevitable Iraq War.

"Like a journalist seduced by his source, American newsrooms can be easily distracted from a story by their own preparations for it. And, at the moment, newsrooms are bewitched by their efforts to get ready for war.

"…Add to the mix an entire new generation of reporters - most young, all hungry - eager to earn "war reporter" stripes. Exotic combat gear, for the first time, is pouring into newsrooms: flak jackets, satellite phones, helmets, field first-aid kits, generators, piles of cash."

Moscu ends with this anecdote:

"A young reporter for a Denver newspaper said to me that he thought war reporting was "the highest calling" for a journalist. He's preparing for Iraq. He's a nice guy, enthusiastic about his job. But the comment gnawed at me. Weeks later, I realized he was dead wrong. The highest calling in journalism is not war reporting. It's finding the story that would help prevent a war. Along the road to Baghdad, we seem to have lost that idea."

 Newsrooms Bewitched by Iraq War
 War Could Squeeze Newspaper Profits  E&P reports that analysts predict a fall-off in ad revenue

Posted by Tim Porter at January 30, 2003 08:26 AM