‘Embedded problems’ in media

A new term has come to the tongues of Americans during this time of conflict. Never before had the world seen “embedded media” during a war. These reporters, who are attached to divisions in the coalition armed forces, are a first for wartime news coverage.

Firsthand coverage is a great thing when it is possible. The accuracy and realism made possible by the presence of a reporter on the scene, giving the audience updates basically as the bombs are falling, is precious and irreplaceable. The reporters have an opportunity to give the audience the real picture as crucial events unfold. Never before in war has the public been able to follow troop movements and battles with such immediacy and intensity. The embedded journalists covering this war from every angle have made all that possible.

However, this does raise the question of the ability of the journalists to maintain their objectivity while following a military unit around in the desert and depending on them for survival.

These reporters must know their audience is trusting them to provide direct reporting. The reporters must be certain to be accurate and clear in the news they send back to the viewing audience. The reporters must resist any urge to make one side appear to be one way or the other.

The viewing public must remember, also, that coverage that seems to favor one side isn’t necessarily biased.

The job of a reporter is to report the events that happen, regardless of who they favor. Therefore, in a conflict that is as one-sided as the current war, accurate coverage will show that one-sidedness.

At the end of the day, the reporters are charged with giving the facts and leaving it at that. They are there to gather information and send that information back to the audience. The audience is then responsible for interpreting the facts and drawing conclusions.

University Wire — Arkansas Traveler, University of Arkansas

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