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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Combat Journalism

     Combat journalists don't engage in fighting; rather, they're journalists who cover various armed conflicts first-hand. They may be writers, photographers, photojournalists or broadcast journalists, or a combination. They also have been called war correspondents or embedded journalists when they live and work alongside a combat unit. In their determination to report accurately on the fighting, and, often the politics associated with it, combat journalists risk their lives…

     Up until the Vietnam War, there was an understanding between war corespondents and the U.S. government that certain military information wouldn't be reported. Correspondents in Vietnam, however, believed the public deserved to hear and see all that was going on. With faster technology and a television in every home, the war was brought into American living rooms on a daily basis. U.S. decisions weren't always presented in a positive light. Thus the debate began over how much access war correspondents should have to information, military tactics and the actual fighting.

     During the Gulf War in 1991, journalists were only permitted to travel in a "pool" and taken to certain locations where they were allowed to film and report. Journalists resented this staged environment, however, and began to sneak into unauthorized areas to report. In 1992, the major media representatives and Pentagon officials agreed to a compromise--to "embed" journalists in combat units. The journalists, under this arrangement, could report as they saw fit…

     Successful combat journalists have solid reporting skills honed by experience and a passion for doing what it takes to get the story despite the dangerous and hostile conditions they may encounter. A minimum four-year degree in journalism with an emphasis on news reporting or photojournalism, plus classes in global journalism are good preparations for this job. Another way to enter the field is through the military as a combat reporter or battle correspondent. After a basis journalism course, correspondents learn on the job and are then assigned to a location. The experience gained can lead to a reporting job after leaving the military.

Barbara Bean-Mellinger, "Definition of Combat Journalists," work.chron.com, 2014 

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