Friday, June 02, 2006

CBS Learns From Unfortunate Precedent

Feel like you know just about everything regarding CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier's recovery from a roadside bomb blast in Iraq?

Perhaps that's because the network seems to have learned from the unfortunate precedent set by ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, whose injury from a bomb in Iraq sparked intense coverage focused on every detail of his treatment and recovery.

CBS publicity types have sent several email press releases a day updating Dozier's progress and providing transcripts of coverage to air on the CBS Evening News.

Correspodent Sheila MacVicar has been offering stories every day on Dozier's progress, including this one on a soldier who gave the reporter his Purple Heart, while CBSNews.com has also been packed with information. And journalists from other news outlets have gotten tremendous access, from the Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold noting Dozier's first written communication after regaining consciousness, to CNN's interviews with doctors who treated her just after she arrived at a military hospital (where they happened to be shooting a documentary).

This access and information stands in contrast to ABC, which was much less open about Woodruff's injuries and tightly controlled the information released. Of course, Woodruff's injuries had much larger implications for the network -- from the moment he was injured, industry watchers wondered if he would ever return to the anchor desk, just weeks after being named co-anchor of the evening news show.

In a small plug, I'll note that I and fellow Times reporter Vanessa Gezari are scheduled to appear on WTVT-Ch. 13's Your Turn midday talk show, speaking on the coverage of Dozier's injury (and the death of her two co-workers) and the issue of journalist safety in Iraq. I've done several pieces on the subject and Vanessa has worked in Afghanistan, where safety was a serious issue.

If you're not doing anything at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, tune in and call in with your thots...

4 Comments:

  • At 11:56 AM, June 02, 2006, formerly mr anonymous said…

    cbs may have learned something from the woodruff fiasco, but they didnt learn the biggest lesson of all: the over the top coverage makes it appear they value their reporter far more than the thousands of anonymous grunts who have died in iraq with no coverage at all.

    the ones who care the most about the cbs reporter are other reporters, thus the fascination. its rather absurd when you think about it at all.

     
  • At 12:01 PM, June 02, 2006, Khan of the Wastelands said…

    What an incredibly odd conclusion to draw.

     
  • At 12:12 PM, June 02, 2006, Eric Deggans said…

    i don't think its an odd conclusion, but i do think it is a cynical one. It's true, lots of coverage of american journalist's struggle in iraq do make it seem as if american journalist value their own more than other killed and wounded.

    But, cold as it sounds to say, soldiers die or are injured every day in Iraq. And some newsoutlets have already been criticized from other quarters for covering such deaths too much.

    In this incident, CBS has a chance to trace the impact of deaths in iraq intrimately and in detail from the bomb blast to the funeral and beyond. American journalists are also, arguably, the most famous victims of violence in Iraq. And as such, they get their full measure of attention and then some, from a press corps desperate to tell this long ongoing story in a new way....

     
  • At 12:24 PM, June 02, 2006, Anonymous said…

    but they didnt learn the biggest lesson of all: the over the top coverage makes it appear they value their reporter far more than the thousands of anonymous grunts who have died in iraq with no coverage at all.

    that crossed my mind (albeit briefly) as well but not coming from cbs, but from other national news outlets.

    but like eric wrote, not every day is a journalist (a western non-combatant at that) blown up.

     

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