Saturday, April 5, 2003

Media offer insight into risks of war

Reporter's death in Iraq underscores local forum

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DELHI TWP. - The death of former Cincinnati Post reporter Michael Kelly, the first American journalist killed in the war with Iraq, underscored Friday's panel discussion among Cincinnati media experts about the dangers and dilemmas facing reporters on the front lines.

Kelly, a Washington Post columnist and Atlantic Monthly editor-at-large who died in a Humvee accident while traveling with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, was remembered in a moment of silence in a packed auditorium at the College of Mount St. Joseph.

"It was very emotional," said Julie Lemmink, a 26-year-old education major who left the discussion with "more respect for what journalists do."

She also said the 90-minute forum taught her to be more circumspect about what she sees, hears and reads about the war.

"I have found myself absolutely glued to the TV," she said.

"I guess (the war) really has been glorified. I don't want to say I am going to detach myself from it, but I am going to take a step back from it, start taking breaks from it. I am going to look for different sources."

The panel included reporters, columnists and editors from local newspapers and television stations and professors from the University of Cincinnati and the College of Mount St. Joseph. Among them was Cincinnati Post editor Barry Horstman, who spoke briefly about Kelly, his former colleague.

Although informal, the panel fielded a range of tough questions from the audience of more than 100 students, professors and residents. They talked about the pitfalls of getting too close to military sources and the ethical issues facing "embedded journalists" who have to live day and night with the people they cover.

University of Cincinnati journalism professor Jon Hughes, who reported from Bosnia and Croatia in 1997, said he believed reporters can lose their objectivity by spending too much time with one group of soldiers.

Instead, he said, journalists should change units and move around.

But that rang hollow for 73-year-old Charles Stinson, a World War II and Korean War veteran.

"As a vet myself, I don't think a reporter can get too close to the people fighting," he said. "That's because what they are going through can't be described in words."

You have to be there, experience it and witness the toll combat takes, he said.

Stinson, whose son is a student at the College of Mount St. Joseph, said he was glad he came to the forum.

"It was great. (Panelists) did a great job," he said. "The opinions were diverse and very thought provoking."

Nursing student Allison Ankenman, 19, said the panel answered questions about the media's role in covering the war.

"I want to be informed," she said. "It is my duty to be informed."

She was struck most by journalists who pointed out that it is OK to be opposed to the war and still support American troops.

Nineteen-year-old Kelly Moore, a physical therapy student, also said that was important. Too often, she said, the media equates antiwar sentiments as anti-troop sentiment.

"Even though you may not agree with the war, you still have to support the troops," she said. "I thought it was interesting to see the different points of view from the different people in the media."

While some students were offered extra credit to attend the forum, communications major John Stranko, 21, said he was just trying to get a better understanding of war reporting.

"I'm still for everything. I'm still for the war and for our troops," he said, adding the forum didn't change his feelings about the war. "But I think it helped people to hear different views."


Media offer insight into risks of war
Voice of America silent as Iraq war under way
They're all Marines now
'Circles of peace' Sunday
Rally in support of troops
Keeping in touch

Cold front brings wind, rain, alarms
Minister makes stand for gay marriages
Appeals court: Law was ignored
Boycotters expand the call for sanctions
Obituary: John C. Hattendorf, 69
Tristate A.M. Report

FAITH MATTERS: Author connects with faith
McNUTT: Neighborhoods

County probe nets a big fish
Couple plead guilty in crack house case
Robots seem to have a mind of their own
School-business partnerships pay
Hamilton Twp. road crew to learn lifesaving skills
Join forum on Hamilton
Obituary: Mathias Fuchs

GOP would cut $1B from schools
College deal lets 2-year work apply to bachelor's
Prosecutors want date set to execute killer
Police: Graffiti on mosque may refer to victim of Sept. 11 attacks
Voinovich may prosper from break with Bush on GOP tax-cut package
Ohio Moments

Candidate changes his tune on ad
Fletcher race faces court challenge
Jury still out on sex charges against ex-Ky. official
Kentucky Obituaries
Colors of spring out at Keeneland
Cancer-fighting products catapult young Ky. company
GOP governor candidates launch KET forum series
Dead suspect exhumed for DNA exam
Audit of six schools in N.Ky. finds five deficient on Title IX
Group: Arts is the answer to raising kids' test scores
Kentucky News Briefs