Monday, January 23, 2006

Trying To Cover Iraq With Others Covering For You

An Unfortunate Fact Of Life For Reporters In And Out Of The Green Zone
Even before Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll was kidnapped, journalists stationed in Baghdad never had to be reminded of how dangerous their beat was.
Which means many reporters are confined to their compound if they're outside the Green Zone, or have to take extraordinary precautions if they dare venture out.
More commonly, they rely on Iraqi staffers to pick up their slack and do the field reporting that is too hazardous for even the most intrepid souls. Many print outlets give these brave Iraqis due credit for assisting in gathering their stories.
No such props are awarded on TV, so it was refreshing that NPR gave credit where credit was due for an intriguing piece by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro on whether Iraqis fear there will be civil war. Initially, I was fearful that she ventured outside , which is hardly recommended while Carroll remains captive.
But at the end, two Iraqis who work at the NPR Baghdad bureau were also cited at the end of the report. Which meant Garcia-Navarro stayed out of harm's way and was able to focus on crafting a slice of life too rarely heard amid reports of suicide bomb, ethnic strife and political infighting.
Covering the day-to-day miasma in Iraq is hard enough. Which makes such dispatches all the more remarkable.

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