Friday, August 25, 2006

Reporting on war crimes

The Dart Centre for Journalism have a newsletter that arrives in my inbox periodically.

They are a global network of journalists, journalism educators and health professionals dedicated to improving media coverage of trauma, conflict and tragedy. The Center also addresses the consequences of such coverage for those working in journalism.

Roy Gutman, foreign editor at Newsday, won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1993 for his coverage of war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Gutman is chairman of the Crimes of War Project and is a member of the Dart Center's advisory council.

In a recent e-mail interview with the Dart Center, Gutman discussed the conflict in Southern Lebanon and the challenges of reporting war crimes ...

Excerpt:During the first of the Balkan wars, in Croatia, my editors at times discouraged me from continuing to report the story. I persisted, but with the self-imposed restriction: I would not go into harm's way—that is, head into a conflict zone—if the newspaper would not publish the story. There were times when I felt I had abdicated my responsibility as a journalist, when perhaps I should ask to be reassigned, since they did not seem to respect my judgment.

But later, in the course of the war in Bosnia, I discovered that one reason the editors were so wary—other than the fact the East Coast experts and the US government were so dismissive of the importance of the events—was that my own presentation was less than perfect. The individual stories may have been eloquent, gripping, and solid, but did not clearly relate the small picture I could report (and photograph) to the big picture. The little picture was individual suffering; the big picture was that it had been ordered by the government.

The broad lesson I draw from the experience is this: if you as a reporter stumble upon an enormous story that no one seems to want, never give up. Don't insult the bosses. Don't quit. Stick with it. The facts will convince in time. The editors will come around.


Ancient Clown said...

There are 'War Crimes' committed upon the POOR throughout Canada & the U.S. by their governments and elected officials.
BUT you won't see that on CNN. Please keep in mind the "Geneva Convention" states that an official declaration of war need not be made for the "Geneva Convention" to apply.
Now take into consideration that NUMBEROUS infractions DUE occur regularly with no repercussions for those in power abusing.
One is only left with the conclusion that all others are distractionary wars to prevent the TRUE one from being seen.
The 'WAR on the POOR' in the FREE World.
your humble servant,
Ancient Clown

woman wandering said...

Hi ancient clown, I wandered over and read your links.