More Reason to Hate Mondays...
Which means about five years of Internet favorites, documents and emails have disappeared into the ether (don't talk to me about backing up stuff; with no CD burner and no cash for 4 GB thumbnail drives, I'm stuck crossing my fingers and praying to save large amounts of data).
I have noticed a curious change in attitude: combined with some AOL hiccups which have repeatedly killed out my email archive, I have been forced to embrace a certain fatalistic attitude about my data. Hard as I try to save some things, most of what I squirrel away on various hard drives will not survive - like many, I just don't have the time or the $$ to save it all. I'll have to assume the winds of the Internet will bring much of it back to me, again.
So, As I Was Saying....
Blink and you'd have missed my piece Saturday on reporters' growing dread over the increasingly dangerous situation in Iraq, a story similar in tone to USA Today's piece today referencing kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll. I led the story with Luke Harding, a longtime foriegn correspondent who colleagues say is among the gutsiest reporters out there, saying westerners trying to report from Iraq is a dangerous folly.
A few more cool quotes:
Pam Constable, a deputy foriegn editor from the Washington Post, who once had to ID the bodies of colleagues killed a few cars lengths away during an ambush in Afghanistan: "Situations of great stress and danger can either bring ot the best or the worst in people in the most unexpected times and places. People you've never even met will reach out and help you -- offering a floor or a place to hide. It often is the case among the poorest people. The people who have the least are often the first to share. And that's gotten me through lot of situations.''
Luke Harding on why he -- and many other experienced reporters -- won't go back to Iraq: "You feel that you can only throw your name in that hat so many times. After seven or eight trips where so many bad things are happening around you, you'd have to be bovine to keep throwing your name in the hat.''
"You have the TV journalists on the 17th floor of the Palestine Hotel, surrounded by bodyguards earning $2,000 a day, and they dont even go to the coke machine in the lobby. NBC wouldn't even go down to the lobby for breakfast with the rest of us. They stayed up in their fortified floor the whole time. It's like they're in prison.''
Anne Garrels, longtime National Public Radio correspondent from Iraq, who wrote the book Naked in Baghdad, confessing she took a long break from reporting there in April and almost didn't return: "For everbody, we're caught -- those of us who have stayed on, we're caught between two things. We actually know something. We've built up a body of knowledge which is enormously helpful. Especially because getting all that knowledge is very difficult, you're loathe to quit when you know something. But there's no question some of us are burnt out, or have post traumatic stress -- a lot of us have to ask why we're doing this. That's one reason why it's harder to get reporters to go. We're having a terrible time finding people who want to go."
Loren Jenkins, senior foriegn editor at NPR, who earned a Pulitzer in 1983 for coverage of Lebanon in the Washington Post: "(During the Vietnam War), you could sit in Saigon and sip French wine at a good restaurant, the next morning you went out to where the war was fought and you took your risks. Basically, you weren't at the front lines all the time. In Baghdad, it's all front lines -- it's chaos and anybody can do anything they want. So you never have any down time -- even at night when you're in your compound, somebody could drive a car bomb into it. Chechnyna and maybe Beirut came close to it -- in which you have civil war in the streets and there was nowhere to hide. In Iraq, just going to a press conference can be taking your life in your hands.''
Of course, I couldn't resist tearing Oprah a new one over the James Frey situation. Some call it piling on, I call it sweet revenge for all the "men are pigs" shows I've had to sit through with my wife. Very cathartic.
Yet Another Media Web Site
If you can stand checking out another media web site, surf to TVNewsday.com, an interesting destination developed by some acquaintances of mine who used to work for Broadcasting and Cable magazine.
As experts on the TV industry, they've worked to pull together many different information treams on the TV biz, from TV critic's columns to their own reporting and a listing of all the TV stations nationwide. Defnitely much more for those who work in the industry in some way, but still insightful if you're looking to figure out the real reason why anybody does anything in the TV business: money.