• 2005-09-20

    + Military "Journalist?"


    本周的Photojournalism作业,除了开始按规定拍一些基础的片子,就是评论Columbia Journalism Review上面一个曾经的军队记者分析他在军中时既有展现新闻真实的冲动又不得不扮演军队公关的尴尬。我们上贴的网页http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=15772337&postID=112675107867641418因CCP封锁的连累,只好在这里存一份自己的作业了。

     Gang said...

    Be a journalist or a PR person? This is a question that once baffled Bill Putman. He used to be proud of his role as a soldier-photographer with Army News Service, “the Army’s version of the Associated Press.” But he soon realized what being a “military journalist” meant – “Army journalism is really public relations.” He was supposed to report whatever good of the army and ignore the “bad news,” as if bad news never happened.

    Putman is an honest and loveable man. He has no high and mighty journalistic aspirations. He does not want to demonize the US army, neither glorify the US army’s cause. He just wants to tell a soldier’s war story. What frustrated him was that even his story from the soldiers’ perspective, a story about how they suffered from the ruthless war, was virtually censored by the army’s PR department. Then his story that showed “heroic” US soldiers rescuing Iraqi civilian victims, yet omitted the embarrassing part of the US careless shootings that caused this “accident”, went through the gate keeper successfully.

    Covering a war is the most respectable job among all journalistic jobs, because the correspondent must risk his life to get the first hand information or pictures on the frontline. But Putman’s experience tells us, if you want to do real journalism, if you want to tell true stories of what’s going on in the war zone, never join the army as a “military journalist.” Only when you make sure you are independent from any interest group, you will be able to apply objectivity about the battle ground.

    Parallel to any war, there is always another war going on, a war between journalists’ quest to reveal the truth and the army’s attempt to cover up whatever unfavorable for their image. Even when Putman stays out of the army to be a civilian journalist now, it is still not time for him to be optimistic. As long as he is “embedded” with the army, he will still find himself fighting the war of control Vs anti-control. Embedded journalists will risk being fed only what the army wants you to know and never get a chance to go out and check it out themselves. So, we must always be on the alert in terms of seeking objectivity.

    I also noticed the difference that Traci has found in Putman’s reactions toward two news events: Putman could put aside photography for a moment when he helped treat the wounded US soldiers, while when he saw an Iraqi boy bleeding in the head, he could remain “detached” and shoot “the best picture I can.” The discrimination is so irresistible for not only Putman, but also a large number of the American reporters and editors. Intentionally or unintentionally, “our own men’s” pains are concerned as our own pains, yet the other side’s pains are non-pains. It demands extra attention for every journalist to devote a caring heart to all parties at a tragic event like a war.

    Gang Wu

    12:18 AM