View Poll Results: Is this type of study woth doing and would you take part?

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  • Worth it, but I can't / won't be involved

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  • Worth it and I'd be interested in hearing more

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Thread: Attitudes twards the media

  1. #21
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Ender,

    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    I have reread what I wrote here in relation to the whole topic in general and I must admit that I am not an objective source on the matter. I may have been trying to kid myself but the truth is that I do have a very narrow view of the concept and that can't serve this debate very well at all. I am confident that calmer, sounder minds will prevail and I look forward to the finished products of the discussion.
    Actually, it was your posts that started the entire idea for this project . All too often, the idea of "objectivity" causes problems in social science because people are inherent "subjective". If we deny this subjectivity and don't look for the factors that help to create and maintain subjective impressions, then we (as researchers) have totally missed the ball.

    Marc

    ps. I know you're back in school now, so if you really want the references for this position they are Alfred Schutz and Thomas Luckmann Stuctures of the Life World vols 1 and 2.
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    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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  2. #22
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Cori,

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    Keep in mind, there's a vast literature on the history of media-military relations.
    Good point, and I'll be counting on you to keep me on track . Could you shoot me some good references?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    As much as I think the idea of going after a cross-country study makes real sense, I think a major contribution would come from a study that also went after the perceptions of newsies who covered the war in a serious way.
    I would agree with that. Certainly if we are dealing with a feedback loop surrounding flash points, that would make a lot of sense, and that was certainly the impression I was getting from Ender's post of what was happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    For ex, I think there is a very serious, highly professionalized, Pentagon press corps. They cover a different slant of story than the folks actually in Baghdad do. But their perception of the military obviously matters. In or out? Some of the folks in Baghdad have been there for a very long time, or at least have done multiple tours there, but they're more foreign affairs folks than military beat/war correspondents. In or out? What about people who have nothing to do with covering war or the military typically but got sent in because no one else at their network was willing to go and SOMEBODY had to go in to give the Baghdad guy a break? And so on and so forth.
    I think, and I'm wide open to changes on this, that I would like to leave the selection of in/out criteria to the military personelle at the moment. If we are dealing with a "good reporter" "bad reporter" dichotomy, and I'm not sure if we are, then I think that it would be crucial to have that as a guide. At the same time, your suggestions about concentrating on the press corps and using their typologies is also important.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    But if you want to get at that idea of flash points, and in partiicular if you're looking for which ones are institutional and which ones are context-driven, coming out of behaviors/events that took place during this war and could be changed, I think you need to survey both "sides."
    I agree. It comes down to a choice on time strategies for the project. Ideally, we do need both perceptual topologies and I think that getting them both will be crucial.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    The argument I make in my work is that there are some aspects of covering this war that are unique, that caught everyone off guard, but which aren't going away, and which therefore have to be grappled with. This would be another way of coming at that.
    Too true! The prevalence of net 2.0 technologies alone has radically altered the face of the media, probably to the same degree that TV acted in the Vietnam war.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    The other thing is this: I've been a little concerned about how the resulting data might be seen, or used. The environment is now so charged, it's an issue you have to take into account. If you survey both, the findings can be presented exactly as MarkT phrased it above: a critical relationship has become unhealthy, this research is a step towards discovering why, and that's a necessary step towards discovering what can be done to heal that relationship.
    I agree totally. So, this now comes down to the "how" questions...

    Marc
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    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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  3. #23
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Stan,

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Reber View Post
    I pondered over your request with a Saku on Ice (a wonderful Estonian beer ) when an American journalist that I've know for a while came in.

    He told me to check out Accuracy In Media. www.aim.org

    Some good blogs and stories there. Sounds perhaps too promising, but figured you could use the help
    I can always use the help, Stan . I'll definitely go through their site with a fine toothed comb (I do check it out every now and then).

    As you can see, this project is expanding all over the place. From some of the things that Cori, and others, have noted, we are going to have to bring in a complementary component based on the press corp and press coverage. I'm not sure how, just yet, but it will be there.

    Marc
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    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
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    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
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  4. #24
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    Default Further Consideration: Survey of Newsies

    Okay, first, if someone can backchannel me how to do the thing where you make it obvious you're quoting someone, I'd really appreciate it.

    That said, as I've backchanneled Marc, I think that were we to proceed with a survey of newsies, it would be critical that our criteria for who to survey be set completely aside from any results coming from the military survey. They need to be based on something like self-definitions of "beat" ("do you consider yourself primarily a Pentagon or national security correspondent?") or by empirical criteria, like number of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, or total time in those bureaus. If the point is to simultaneously or near-simultaneously produce these parallel surveys as a way of exploring the attitudes these two groups hold, to look for the "flash points" (to use Marc's term) or the attributions the groups hold that can become the basis for resolving conflict and moving forward ina more productive way, the newsies have to believe they had as much or as little input into their survey as military personnel had in theirs, that it is rigorously fair, and parallel in every way.

    My 2@.
    cd

  5. #25
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    Default Alternative approach to "newsies"

    If I were developing this project - I'm not, Marc is - I most likely would not use survey methodology to get at the newsies. This is a rather more limited group than the military and the more influential ones are even fewer. Therefore, I would address them in a series of selected in-depth interviews. This approach would, I think, cut the cost and the time as well as get satisfactory answers.

  6. #26
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default The media side..

    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    If I were developing this project - I'm not, Marc is - I most likely would not use survey methodology to get at the newsies. This is a rather more limited group than the military and the more influential ones are even fewer. Therefore, I would address them in a series of selected in-depth interviews. This approach would, I think, cut the cost and the time as well as get satisfactory answers.
    I think I'm going to defer to Cori on this particular issue. Right now, from what I understand, she is doing exactly the types of interviews you are suggesting for a forthcoming book. In general, you're quite right about the time / cost trade-off of interviews over survey data, but we may be dealing with a special case here with the media due simply to their time constraints <shrug>.

    Marc
    Last edited by marct; 04-08-2007 at 05:01 PM.
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  7. #27
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    Okay, first, if someone can backchannel me how to do the thing where you make it obvious you're quoting someone, I'd really appreciate it.

    That said, as I've backchanneled Marc, I think that were we to proceed with a survey of newsies, it would be critical that our criteria for who to survey be set completely aside from any results coming from the military survey. They need to be based on something like self-definitions of "beat" ("do you consider yourself primarily a Pentagon or national security correspondent?") or by empirical criteria, like number of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, or total time in those bureaus.
    If you're looking for reporters to ask here's a good list:

    George Packer, New Yorker
    Greg Jaffe, Wall Street Journal
    Tom Ricks, Washington Post
    Joe Galloway, Retired (Reuters)
    Anne Scott Tyson, Washington Post

    Arguably the 5 most current and constant reporters with varying views. I'm sure there are a host of others, but those 5 names immediately came to mind thinking of this.
    Example is better than precept.

  8. #28
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    Default A Few More

    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    If you're looking for reporters to ask here's a good list:

    George Packer, New Yorker
    Greg Jaffe, Wall Street Journal
    Tom Ricks, Washington Post
    Joe Galloway, Retired (Reuters)
    Anne Scott Tyson, Washington Post

    Arguably the 5 most current and constant reporters with varying views. I'm sure there are a host of others, but those 5 names immediately came to mind thinking of this.
    I'd add:

    Michael Gordon, New York Times
    Rowan Scarborough, Washington Examiner
    Bill Gertz, Washington Times
    Stan Correy, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

  9. #29
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    Default If You've Deployed In the Last 24 Months . . .

    Thank you for the suggested names of journalists, but I have a slightly different question. My sense is that there are two competing pressures pulling at outlets. On the one hand, b/c the price of covering the war is reaching astronomical heights, more and more outlets other than those at the very top tier (the nets, the newsweeklies, the very top dailies) are at least considering pulling the plug on bureaus.

    At the same time, smaller reg'l dailies and local TV stations, even when they otherwise may not be very good, feel obligated to provide very high quality coverage of bases and units in their area as part of their mission. For ex, papers in North Carolina which might not be on your list of the top papers in the country routinely provide excellent military coverage b/c there are so many bases in the state, and despite the fact that our local television stations are simply excecreble, there are reporters here who have covered the military for twenty years and do a good job of it. My sense is that even though many of these outlets certainly don't have deep pockets, they will still periodically send reporters out to embed b/c that's part of how they define their mission of covering the units in their communities.

    Here's my question: is that still true? If you've deployed in, let's say the last 24 months, have you seen reporters embedding with your unit from outlets other than the nationals? Local television outlets, daily papers from media markets, let's say smaller than the Boston Globe (yes, I know they've pulled the plug on foreign coverage entirely, but that's a recent move, and that's a good place to draw the line b/w "national" and "reg'l" daily.)

    No need to name names here, a simple, "yes, it's happened," either regularly or periodically would be of great use.

  10. #30
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    Thank you for the suggested names of journalists, but I have a slightly different question. My sense is that there are two competing pressures pulling at outlets. On the one hand, b/c the price of covering the war is reaching astronomical heights, more and more outlets other than those at the very top tier (the nets, the newsweeklies, the very top dailies) are at least considering pulling the plug on bureaus.

    At the same time, smaller reg'l dailies and local TV stations, even when they otherwise may not be very good, feel obligated to provide very high quality coverage of bases and units in their area as part of their mission. For ex, papers in North Carolina which might not be on your list of the top papers in the country routinely provide excellent military coverage b/c there are so many bases in the state, and despite the fact that our local television stations are simply excecreble, there are reporters here who have covered the military for twenty years and do a good job of it. My sense is that even though many of these outlets certainly don't have deep pockets, they will still periodically send reporters out to embed b/c that's part of how they define their mission of covering the units in their communities.

    Here's my question: is that still true? If you've deployed in, let's say the last 24 months, have you seen reporters embedding with your unit from outlets other than the nationals? Local television outlets, daily papers from media markets, let's say smaller than the Boston Globe (yes, I know they've pulled the plug on foreign coverage entirely, but that's a recent move, and that's a good place to draw the line b/w "national" and "reg'l" daily.)

    No need to name names here, a simple, "yes, it's happened," either regularly or periodically would be of great use.

    Had the Colorado Springs Gazette for a few months in 2003. All those I listed I've seen in theater either in OIF I or III (Except I never met Ricks). For stateside news on Tal Afar now I look to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since they've had a reporter with them for a few months. Other than that, there aren't many small town news agencies (IMO) that have the budget for such things, nor do they find them worthy ventures.
    Last edited by RTK; 04-08-2007 at 11:16 PM. Reason: thought of more to say
    Example is better than precept.

  11. #31
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cori View Post
    Here's my question: is that still true? If you've deployed in, let's say the last 24 months, have you seen reporters embedding with your unit from outlets other than the nationals? Local television outlets, daily papers from media markets, let's say smaller than the Boston Globe (yes, I know they've pulled the plug on foreign coverage entirely, but that's a recent move, and that's a good place to draw the line b/w "national" and "reg'l" daily.)
    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Had the Colorado Springs Gazette for a few months in 2003. All those I listed I've seen in theater either in OIF I or III (Except I never met Ricks). For stateside news on Tal Afar now I look to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since they've had a reporter with them for a few months. Other than that, there aren't many small town news agencies (IMO) that have the budget for such things, nor do they find them worthy ventures.
    Hmmm, that's a really good question Cori. I would imagine that it should be possible to get a list of who embedded, when and where they were from. That should give us a statistical profile of agencies. It's another take on the glocalization argument....

    Ryan, you mentioned the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Am I correct in assuming that's the online version? How did you find out about them covering Tal Afar? Is there a site that lists these "local" papers and the areas they cover? (Okay Dave and Bill, outside the SWJ's fantastic daily news briefing ).

    Marc
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  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hmmm, that's a really good question Cori. I would imagine that it should be possible to get a list of who embedded, when and where they were from. That should give us a statistical profile of agencies. It's another take on the glocalization argument....

    Ryan, you mentioned the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Am I correct in assuming that's the online version? How did you find out about them covering Tal Afar? Is there a site that lists these "local" papers and the areas they cover? (Okay Dave and Bill, outside the SWJ's fantastic daily news briefing ).

    Marc
    I searched for Tal Afar about 4 months ago and started seeing their names pop up all over the place. Google rocks.
    Example is better than precept.

  13. #33
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    Default Lexis-Nexis

    I'm sorry, I misunderstood Marc's question initially to be a question about whether there was some centralized record of embeds. (I think the answer is no, but I'm double-checking.) If the question is whether there's a central data base of articles, the easiest way to search is probably Lexis-Nexis. It's comprehensive, it avoids the problem of newspapers that don't cache for more than a few weeks (a huge problem when researching on the broader web), and you don't have to sort through all the blogs etc. The problem is it's expensive as hell, so if you don't already have access through your institution, you probably aren't going to get access, and the Academic version is balky compared to the Cadillac version law firms (and schools) use.

    What actually works best is to bounce back and forth b/w Google and Nexis, using the two in conjuntion with one another.

    The other benefit to using L-N, of course, is that it includes non-American sources AND (critical) TV transcripts. Is it comprehensive on English-language foreign sources? Don't know, but there's a pretty hefty list of Canadian papers, good sized list from UK, and Australia. Only a few from Ireland but I don't know what baseline list to compare that one to.

  14. #34
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I cannot recall the outlet that he worked for, but I ran across an embed who had come into Anbar in early 2005. He made it to our neck on the woods because he was specifically covering one of the surge operations going on as the Marine Expeditionary Forces conducted a relief-in-place.

    I've also noticed a surge of embed reporting during high-profile periods, like the elections, major operations like Fallujah 2.0, etc. They have come from big and small outlets, but typically when the prospect of a "juicy story" is high.

    I can't recall if I've stated it elsewhere on the SWC before, but I had a heavy anti-media bias before my company picked up a team of Fox News guys (reporter, cameraman, and engineer). I had to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with them early on when we were in Kuwait (waiting for the word to kick off the invasion in 2003) about what they would and wouldn't do on the battlefield. The reporter talked a good game of course, and said all the right things, but he was just a little too slick.

    I loosened up a little, and certainly took advantage of what they brought along (like a sat phone) to help out my Marines, but there was still this lingering tension. The reporter was always asking where we were going, and if I could take him to another zone where things we just a little bit hotter and more newsworthy. Even after careful scripting and discussions, he still made several errors in describing what he saw, which tends to be annoying when you are watching him give the story live. It can be exacerbated when your impression of what is news-worthy does not mesh with the embed's impression. The larger outlets are in competition with each other, and that can hold true for the different reporters within a single network. I don't like hanging my neck out there because the firefight across the river has the potential for good footage.

    My more memorable moment of frustration came after my battalion had moved to Ad Diwaniyah to stage for the retrograde back to Kuwait. My company was the Division reactionary force at the time, and I had some reason or other to be at the Division command posts. Something caught my eye on one of the big-screen TVs pumping news in to the battle staff, and there he was in all his glory, my Fox News guy. He was already back in the states, clean, oiled, and neatly coiffed. I looked at myself, dirty and dischevelled, and shook my head.

    My fellow company commanders from that time of the war would likely say that their embeds (photogs and print reporters) were less of a headache and high maintenance than our Fox News crew. We all have a healthy suspicion after Geraldo Rivera's antics with the 101st. No one supports a prima donna.

  15. #35
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    My experiences with journalists.

    In 2003 my battalion had Trent Gegax of newsweek embedded with us. Trent showed up at Carson and waited outthe Turkey thing with us. We also had a photojournalist from the Rocky Mountain News. Trent rarely left the battalion TOC in April and early May of 2003. In fact he published a really unflattering article on us, that got him thrown out of the battalion. Trent wrote an article that used alot of humor that soldiers had been using since the Turky plan got screwed up. Trent took the comments said as humor, and wrote a story utilizing them as "straight talk". The article could have been great if he wrote it as a piece demonstarting the good sense of humor that soldiers have, but he didn't, and he got alot of things wrong in the article. In 2005 when I was an advisor, you couldn't get anybody other military journalists to go out with us. During the January 2005 election, I ended up on the CBS morning show without ever realizing that I had been interviewed by CBS. A couple of Arab journalists wandered into my Iraqi units AO, the Iraqis told them to leave, the journalists/camera crew said no, and my unit then said they were going to kill them (hence, why I stepped in). The Arab crew said they were from Reuters, asked the Iraqi commander for an interview, he said no, I said sure, and low and behold it ran on CBS. As 2005 went on, more and more advisors from the active componet started show up. We used to joke about having to de-CNN the newbies because they were convinced they were going to take an IED as soon as they went out the gate. In 2006, during the media panel we had for my CGSC class, we asked the journalists why didn't they have more people covering Iraq if it was such an important story (answer cost and risk). What was their process for vetting local stringers (ans: why would we need to do that). Why do we always see the footage of one of the few bad things that happened in Iraq as opposed to the many good things (ans: We have a limited amount of time in a broadcast, so we have to use stuff that will capture the viewers attention). Do you guys view yourselves as Americans first or journalists/where/what is your loyalty (ans: we are the fourth estate, providing truth to the people, we view ourselves as Americans, but our responsibility is to the truth, not the country). Why do you guys not go on more operations with us (too dangerous, look at Bob Woodruf). If the Iraqi Security Forces are such a big story why don't you guys go on any operations with them (ans: way too dangerous). Now, the military PAO memeber of the panel owned to up to some serious mistakes that military and CPA made in 2004. The other thing brought up by all with no good answer is that things said in speeches by major figures can and do wind up being broadcast worldwide, even though the speech might have only been intended for a small niche domestic political audience. The take away that we had was that if you really wanted good reporting, you had to read smaller local papers that covered units because of the local slant, especially when National Guard units get called up. National level stuff just isn't very effective, and has too many competing agendas for time/space and ratings/circulation and most importantly money.

  16. #36
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    I searched for Tal Afar about 4 months ago and started seeing their names pop up all over the place. Google rocks.
    I wonder how many other people have used google to track down which paper is covering AOs they used to be in? Hmmm. Ryan, what do you think about the AJCs coverage of Tal Afar? I think that Jimbo's right about the national level coverage having too many competing agendas, but I would be really inerested to find out what people think about some of the "local" papers.

    Marc
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  17. #37
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Marc,

    Local papers give outstanding personal story coverage and are usually more than one-layer deep in their reporting. Some of the better writing has come out of small papers that have invested in putting an embed with a unit for a period of time, rather than touring the AO.

    There are some flashes of brilliance, so to speak, from larger outlets every now and then. One of my best friends was killed in Iraq in 2005, and Tony Perry of the LA Times wrote an obituary of sorts about him, because he made the ffort to know him on a personal level. I haven't seen much of that.

  18. #38
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi JC,

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Local papers give outstanding personal story coverage and are usually more than one-layer deep in their reporting. Some of the better writing has come out of small papers that have invested in putting an embed with a unit for a period of time, rather than touring the AO.
    You know, that really does make a lot of sense. By "more than one-layer deep" am I right in assuming that you mean that these reporters are giving much more in-depth reporting? Things like better coverage, a better / more accurate description of events, etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    There are some flashes of brilliance, so to speak, from larger outlets every now and then. One of my best friends was killed in Iraq in 2005, and Tony Perry of the LA Times wrote an obituary of sorts about him, because he made the ffort to know him on a personal level. I haven't seen much of that.
    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I think you're quite right about the lack of decent coverage - all too often it just seems to come across on CNN as a number. How have you found most of the embeds in that regard? Did they try to get to know the people they were with on a personal level?

    Marc
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  19. #39
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    I wonder how many other people have used google to track down which paper is covering AOs they used to be in? Hmmm. Ryan, what do you think about the AJCs coverage of Tal Afar? I think that Jimbo's right about the national level coverage having too many competing agendas, but I would be really inerested to find out what people think about some of the "local" papers.

    Marc
    It's been focusing more on the unit and people within the unit than anything else. They did manage to interview the likes of GEN Petraeus and LTG Ordierno when they went north after the suicide bombing a couple weeks ago. With a place that far away from Baghdad, the fact that they have an embed up there means more information is coming from Tal Afar quicker than it would be.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi JC,



    You know, that really does make a lot of sense. By "more than one-layer deep" am I right in assuming that you mean that these reporters are giving much more in-depth reporting? Things like better coverage, a better / more accurate description of events, etc.?



    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I think you're quite right about the lack of decent coverage - all too often it just seems to come across on CNN as a number. How have you found most of the embeds in that regard? Did they try to get to know the people they were with on a personal level?

    Marc

    When a reporter goes further than one-layer, they typically do describe the events better and are more accurate. They also write about the personal struggles that the troops face, and from (what I have seen) are more responsible about printing what a servicemember says when they know it may be a ill-thought out reply to a question, or something that could discredit the unit.

    I've found that most embeds are likely overwhelmed by deadlines and technical difficulties to be able to know anyone with any deep degree of familiarity. They are also under pressure to dig into the story, and find something that is fit to print (i.e. "big news"). I don't blame them for how they are wired, because they are a product of the environment that they come from.

    At the end of the day, you have to always be on your toes with what you say to an embed, and it get's tiring to the point that you'd almost rather not have them around. I could talk to my Fox camera guy as though he was a college buddy, but the actual reporter had to be handled differently. Ever have the experience where you are having a discussion with someone, and you can see the wheels turning in their head, trying to find a way to fit what you say into their agenda? It can be unsettling.

    Independent embeds who bankroll their visits seem to be a slightly different story, but I've never run across one of them in person.

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