Journalists At War

Journalists At War, Pitts
CBS
Much has been made of the extraordinary technology that allows journalists to report from the front line fighting in Iraq. But it comes at a price. Two journalists are now confirmed dead, and several more are reported missing by their news organizations.

British journalist Terry Lloyd was described by those who knew him as "fearless"...a war correspondent who had placed himself in harm's way many times in the past.

Battlefield reporting is as old as the profession itself. In pursuit of the great shot or the "big get," these civilians are willing to take a chance. Like Australian cameraman Paul Moran, who ventured into an Iraqi village this weekend where a car bomb exploded.

Bronwyn Kielywsaying of the Australian Broadcasting Corp. says, "He would get the contacts nobody could get. He would get the pictures nobody could get."

And these days it is much easier to push the limit. The cameras are small, the satellites portable and the computers link to a cell phone. No longer tethered to a big, safe city to broadcast or file, war correspondents are moving deeper into the battle zone.

CBS News producer Larry Doyle says "the technology has led us into an area that's actually very dangerous for us. It's the lure to be there first, to be on live to show it as it's happening."

Doyle was in Afghanistan for CBS News in the fall of 2001, when eight journalists died in 17 days during the war against the Taliban. Early on, more journalists had actually been killed than fighting forces.

"I don't think anybody said 'I'm going to go kill me a journalist,'" says CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts. "I think that in most instances they saw easy prey, someone they could take advantage of, take their valuables and take their life."

While journalists in Afghanistan fended for themselves in a lawless environment, Iraq is supposed to be different. Reporters are embedded with military units, giving them a layer of protection. Before the war, media personnel were required to spend weeks of training, learning first aid and how to handle an encounter with the enemy. But some members of the media, including Lloyd and Moran, were out on their own.

Department of Defense spokesperson, Victoria Clarke said Saturday, "The coalition forces will, of course, exercise extreme care whenever there are noncombatants. However, reporters who get between coalition and Iraqi forces put themselves at extreme risk."

And when a journalist takes that risk and is caught in the crossfire, it quickly changes the reality for everyone in the field.

"if you come to a place like this to cover a place like this, death is a real possibility, you try to be as careful as possible, but if it's your time in this place you will die," says Pitts.

Doyle says, "Your stomach turns over, you say, 'when was the last time I talked to our guys.' I know some of our guys were up in that area where these reports come in; it's terrifying and you wait the minutes go by very slowly until you hear from them."

When the story of a lifetime becomes the story of one's life. Both journalists who died over the weekend leave a wife and children.