Tuesday, May 30, 2006

When Being Fearless Isn't Enough: Admiration and Anxiety Over Kimberly Dozier

If you've never been a combat journalist -- and I haven't -- you often wonder if you'd have what it takes to not only cover a conflict but to do what's necessary to ensure you don't become a casualty.
If you venture beyond the hotel bar, or the military press briefing room, do you become fearless because you have to? Do you remember that you're a journalist, not a soldier? Do you never forget that it's called a war zone for a reason?
CBS' Kimberly Dozier and her crew had years of experience answering those questions correctly. And still it wasn't enough to prevent an IED from killing cameraman Paul Douglas and sound man James Brolan, while Dozier was left seriously wounded.
During my time at CBS Radio I was on the receiving end of many a Dozier dispatch from one hotspot or another. It could have been Kosovo or Macedonia, some godforsaken hole in the dead of the Afghanistan winter or the hot spot du jour in the Middle East.
Suffice to say, she's a field reporter first, a journalistic grunt -- in the best sense of the term -- often working in what could be generously called arduous conditions, but considered that a small price to pay for being our eyes and ears as history unfolds.
And few have understood, appreciated that role better and relished it even more.
I especially remember one chilling dispatch from Ramallah where a mortar shell got a little too close for comfort. It startled but didn't shake her and it made for gripping radio, one reason she's won three Gracie awards from American Women in Radio and Television.
Even in such moments you were concerned but not afraid for her. Her dedication was never supplanted by recklessness. The same could be said for Monday in Baghdad. But this time, that wasn't enough.
As she begins what will be an extended recovery, save a good thought for Kimberly. And two more for the families of her fallen comrades.

No comments: