- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

They are all dressed up with nowhere to go: The war hasn't started yet, leaving hundreds of print and broadcast journalists to wait with their satellite phones and gas masks for the fighting to commence.
After the initial hubbub of getting to the Middle East, a waiting strategy has set in among "embeds" and "nonembeds" alike.
"You can bet that in their quiet, private moments, these correspondents ponder the fact that what they're doing is not a game," William Winter, president of the American Press Institute, said yesterday.
"People get killed doing this work, and that is, for even the bravest and most determined reporter, a sobering and even intimidating thought," Mr. Winter said.
"When the bullets and bombs start flying, carefully planned reporting processes can turn quickly into free-lancing designed to allow the reporter first to get the story, and second to stay alive," he added.
But until the big story comes along, there are scores of lesser stories to file.
"We're already covering the situation thoroughly right now. We want the audience as well-educated as possible," said Parisa Khosrazi, CNN's senior vice president for international news coverage.
"We're doing stories on the Kurds and Turks to the north, or Christians who live in Iraq. We'll get reactions from Arabs on the streets or backgrounders on a particular area," she said. "And if war comes, we'll be governed by the news of the day and plenty of it."
Already, the impending conflict is considered the "all-digital war" by journalists who are far more nimble than their counterparts from the Persian Gulf war a dozen years ago. Electronic news gathering and cumbersome equipment has given way to satellite news gathering (SNG) enhanced by laptop computers, night vision and digitized images sent to home newsrooms via the Internet.
On Monday, CNN news crews affixed a newfangled "lipstick cam" actually a miniature video camera to the helmet of a Navy F-14 pilot, transmitting live images of the "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq for viewers.
Yet for all the promise of technology and the lure of dramatic war coverage, reality has sunk in among correspondents, a few of whom have already filed stories about the danger they face.
Baghdad rooftops and hotel verandas, now used as news hubs, are also potential bombing targets for the U.S. military.
The frisson of combat presents the media with ethics issues.
"The proliferation of satellite telephones and other technology has greatly increased the number of journalists covering conflicts while intensifying the competitive pressures that can push them to take unwarranted risks," the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists notes in a safety publication for journalists in high-risk areas.
The Belgium-based International News Safety Institute (INSI), a coalition of more than 100 media companies, journalists and press interest groups, is urging opposing countries to "respect the safety and integrity of journalists on the field of battle."
Some 65 journalists and news crew members were killed on duty last year, according to the INSI.
"While some news media staff will travel with and under the protection of the forces deployed, many more will operate alone. Upon all of them falls the responsibility to provide fully independent and uncensored accounts of the war and its impact on ordinary people. And that makes them potential targets," the INSI notes.

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