NPR's On The Media

Final “On the Media”: Battlefield Journalism

I really enjoyed the segment on “On the Media” this week regarding the lack of training for freelance journalists covering war. I am really conflicted as to where I stand on the issue for two reasons. While the obvious consideration is that journalists need training to protect their lives during war, my devil’s advocate feels that war correspondents are surpassing their duty as a journalist to only gather and report a story rather than also being equipped with the added duty to have to possibly help others in danger. There are just so many ethical implications to this story. At the end of the day, a journalist has a job and I personally feel it is crossing the line when a reporter may also be required to apply pressure to battle wounds or wrap hurt soldiers. I understand that ethically it is wrong to watch someone die but is it fair to the reporter to have the pressure of having to save another? I remember discussing this conflict during a Media Ethics course I took at Manhattanville, and we too had to make this ethical decision regarding the level of contact a journalist should really have during war correspondence. Ultimately I believe it is smart that both on staff and freelance journalists do receive basic training, I just don’t feel it fair for journalists to feel obligated to use that knowledge under pressure on the battlefield.

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