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The War Correspondent

The War Correspondent OPEN ACCESS

Greg McLaughlin
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: Pluto Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The War Correspondent
    Book Description:

    A redefinition of the British historical novel as a key site in the construction of British national identity.

    eISBN: 978-1-78371-758-3
    Subjects: Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. William Howard Russell is widely regarded as one of the first war correspondents to write for a commercial daily newspaper. He became famous for his dispatches from the Crimean War, 1854–56, forThe Timesand he seemed to appreciate that he was blazing a trail for a new breed of journalist, calling himself the ‘miserable parent of a luckless tribe’. Charles Page, an American contemporary of Russell, also seemed to see the miserable and luckless side of the job. In an article entitledAn Invalid’s Whims... The Miseries of Correspondents, he compared himself and his colleagues to invalids, ‘proverbially...

    • The job of the war correspondent is defined by the risks and dangers involved with getting the story: death, injury, kidnap, harassment and imprisonment, among others. This chapter considers the real extent of these risks, the kinds of training courses available to journalists reporting in hostile environments and the variable level of risk that a war reporter might face, depending on the size and resources of his or her news organisation. In that context, it explores the motivations by which war correspondents rationalise risk and danger: from the candid (the thrill and excitement of reporting war) to the pragmatic (getting...

    • The existence or possibility of objectivity and impartiality in journalism has long been debated, but it seems to have most pressing relevance in the reporting of war and conflict. Amid the propaganda and the censorship, war reporters have had to don their metaphorical helmet and flak jacket and protest their integrity as loudly as possible. So when the BBC reporter Martin Bell raised his head above the parapet during the Bosnian civil war (1992–95) and proclaimed that he could no longer be impartial in the face of the daily atrocities of that conflict, he ignited a heated and acrimonious...

    • One of the features of conflicts in the post-Cold War era of the late 1980s/early 1990s was their live-ness, their status as instant television news. CNN became famous for its habit of being on the spot at the latest global crisis to report events live as they happened: the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the East European revolutions, the Gulf War, and the August coup in the Soviet Union. It was this live-ness that concentrated the minds of policy makers and analysts, military strategists and media professionals alike. They identified something called the...

    • The relationship between the war correspondent and the military is often portrayed in media journalism as a power struggle in which the correspondents do their best to get the right stories and the right pictures, while the military do their best to stop them. Indeed, the relationship was one of the biggest stories of media coverage of recent major conflicts such as Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The pros and cons of the embed system of reporting and the military briefings; the treatment of independent reporters, or ‘unilaterals’ as the military call them; and the deaths of reporters...

    • The prevailing and erroneous myth of a hostile media in Vietnam quickly took root in US military thinking about how to manage the media in the field of operations; and they were to learn much from the successes and failures of British military and political information policy during the Falklands war (1982). American military planners were impressed with British information restrictions but not with their approach to public relations and sought to develop a more balanced media strategy when planning their own subsequent operations in Grenada (1986), Panama (1989) and the Gulf (1991). The deployment in those instances of a...

    • The embedded reporter system did not originate, as some commentators think, in the planning stages of the war in Iraq in 2003; it was conceived in the final stages of the Bosnian War and international efforts to broker a peace deal via the Dayton Accords of 1995. In its leading role with the United Nations Protection Force in the Balkans, the US military had clear ideas about their objectives and of how the media might help meet them. The General commanding the American sector in Bosnia, William L. Nash, had three objectives in respect to dealing with the media: to...

    • From the Roman empires of ancient history to the European empires of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, through to the American and Soviet empires of the twentieth century, propaganda has been key to the manipulation of domestic public opinion and behaviour. The construction of the virtuous self and the projection of the enemy image, an abject other by which the virtuous self can be measured and amplified, is of course an ideological project that finds its origins in the institutions of the state; but its validation and its endless reproduction depend on a nexus of social and cultural institutions that...

    • This chapter is not a review of the literature that exists on the role of the media in reporting and representation of 9/11, and the so-called war on terror that followed it; nor is it an in depth analysis of the reporting of what have been called the 9/11 wars, that is, Afghanistan and Iraq, fought as part of America’s war on terror (see, for example, Carruthers, 2011; Lewis, 2005; Schecter, 2003). Time and resources do not allow for either. Its purpose instead is to develop the thesis proposed in the previous chapter and look at the outlines of the...

    • This book has presented a critical, historically grounded analysis of the role of the war correspondent. It has highlighted the risks, the problems and the failures that have defined the role but it has also given credit where that is due and acknowledged the inspirational example of correspondents such as William Howard Russell, Morgan Philips Price, Martha Gellhorn, Wilfred Burchett, John Pilger and Robert Fisk. Their work seems to bear testament to the ideal beloved of all journalists and writers, of ‘telling truth to power’. But as Arundhati Roy has argued, ‘Power owns the truth [and] knows the truth just...

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International.
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