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WORLD & NATION
Journalists abroad continue to face dangers, tragedy
BY BRITTANY MURDOCK
They are held captive, beaten, tortured,
threatened and faced to deal with drastic
weather conditions. They must adjust to
language barrier and are sometimes subject
For what crime? An attempt to share the
They are international journalists.
Robert Rosenthal is an award-winning
journalist who was taken prisoner of Uganda
in May 1982, just three weeks after becoming
a foreign correspondent. Rosenthal was
reporting on the civil war when he was taken
captive. Fortunately, he was released three
"I was arrested, beaten and whipped,"
said Rosenthal in a phone interview with The
Guilfordian. "I realized there is evil in the
world and I was able to really feel what it was
like to feel helpless. Tm lucky to be alive."
The Committee to Protect Journalists —
an independent, nonprofit organization —
is dedicated to the global defense of press
freedom and has documented 982 total
journalist deaths since 1992. In 2012, there
were 232 journalists jailed worldwide.
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl
was abducted and beheaded in 2002 when
he traveled to Pakistan in search of a link
between Richard Reid ("the shoe bomber")
and Al-Qaeda. Pearl was 38 with a child on
the way when he was decapitated with a
knife on video by his attackers in Feb. 2002.
"The U.S. government has little to
no control over journalists who want to
venture into harms way, other than the
State Departments issuing travel warnings
regarding dangerous countries," said Visiting
Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert
Duncan, in an email interview.
Associate Professor of Business
Management Betty Kane pointed out that
journalists are required to follow foreign law.
"When someone is abroad, they are subject
to the laws and the decisions of the foreign
government," said Kane. "Just as we would
impose in our country that when a foreign
person was here, they would also be subject
to our laws and our enforcement of those
While on a deadline to capture the truth
and details of a story, language and cultural
barriers can stop a journalist in their tracks.
Weather and climate are also interfering
"It is possible that without language or
culture background the journalist could do
things to offend people they didn't realize was
offensive," said David Limburg, professor of
foreign languages. "It's also possible they
might not get the best story because they
aren't as aware of what they should be."
Steve Sapienza, an award-winning
news and documentary producer, has
covered a wide range of human security
stories. Sapienza deals with language and
culture barriers by hiring local guides and
researching before adventuring abroad.
"I typically hire a local guide, someone who
frequently works with visiting journalists,
to help with translation and logistics," said
Sapienza in an email interview with The
Guilfordian. "I research each topic I cover
thoroughly online before I leave, and I also
seek input from experts who work on the
Steve Sapienza, a traveling journalist who
visited Guilford last fall, is an example of a reporter
who puts himself at risk in order to document
topic in the region."
Iraq, the Phillippines and Algeria have the
most reported deaths of journalists. More
than 90 percent of killed reporters have been
Anna Politkoyskaya was a special
correspondent for the independent Moscow
newspaper called Novaya Gazeta. She
was known for her investigative reports
on human rights abuses practiced by the
Russian military. During her career she
was threatened, jailed, forced into exile,
poisoned and, in 2006, found murdered in
her apartment building in Moscow.
With endless risks and tragedies, many
ask why journalists continue such dangerous
"I have witnessed a lot of famine (and
seen) men, women, and children dying," said
Rosenthal. "It's hard to deal with emotionally.
You hope that your writing will reach out to
people and mobilize and motivate help."
Trust in media erodes, cases of mistaken reporting mount
The Associated Press O
; Breaking: Two Explosions in the White
i House and Barack Obama is injured
; ^ Reply Retweet 'it Favorite ••• More
BY CHLOE UNDEMAN
The above tweet, posted on the
Associated Press' Twitter page on
April 23, caused an immediate stir
The AP Twitter account, which
had been hacked, was corrected
moments later with a new tweet,
deeming the previous message
Unfortunately, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average dropped 150
points before the public had been
reassured by the correction.
Just a few days earlier, CNN
mistakenly told viewers that
police had a suspect responsible
for the Boston bombings in
These errors serve as important
reminders to question reported
"When Boston happened
... there were many erroneous
reports going out, some of which
were dangerous and some of
which were just embarrassing
for the news people," said Richie
Zweigenhaft, Dana professor of
psychology and coordinator of the
"There are hundreds and
hundreds of stations ... and they
all want to be the first to break
stories, so they don't monitor
and check the way that a daily
newspaper historically would
do," said Zweigenhaft.
As more and more news
sources transform to digital form
only, mistakes similar to those
made during the Boston bombings
could occur more often.
"I see people (with) their heads
stuck in these magic screens, and
they kind of tune out the world,"
Jeri Rowe, staff columnist at
the News and Record, told The
Guilfordian. "They want it now.
Well, if you want it now, is it right?
Are you sure it's right?"
Fact-checking and investigation
help verify information but
require both time and money.
"I do think there's a trend
(in declining media credibility),
but it's a long-standing trend,"
said Naadiya Hasan, assistant
professor of sociology and
"It's not something that's just
happened in the past year or
two. It's something that's been
happening for the past decade to
20 years," she added.
People are also turning to social
media sources like Twitter and
Reddit for news.
"I find Twitter to be a more
valuable news resource than
one might think," wrote Sam
Gibson, an Early College senior
taking Zweigenhaft's Mass Media
Psychology class, in an email.
"Even though tweets can only
be 140 characters, they usually
provide links to larger articles."
However, using social media
as a source of news can present
"More people can become,
essentially, their own publishers;
that also destabilizes that
relationship of who are the
legitimate news providers," said
"(That) would require a more
critical audience, but I don't
necessarily know that (the public
is) getting the training to be a more
critical audience," she added.
So how can readers and viewers
ensure their news sources are
"I believe in reading and I
believe in print," said Zweigenhaft.
"I think if students ... want to get
more in-depth coverage of the
kinds of issues that we're faced
by, it's a good idea to read, and it's
a good idea to read where you're
not simultaneously doing eight
As a columnist, Rowe also sees
print news from the production
"People kind of put us up there
with used car salesmen," said
Rowe. "They feel that we bend
or sway the news. From where
I sit, that is just wrong. The only
commodity I have is trust. If I
don't have trust, I don't have
Trusting online sources can be
harder than trusting print because
of the possibility of hacking or
"A rapidly developing story
of national interest followed by
many news outlets ... creates a
competitive pressure to publish
updates as quickly as possible,"
said Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane, staff
writer for the News and Record, in
an email interview.
"As authorities and others
reveal more details, some
information published early on
might turn out not to be accurate,"
The number of respectable
online news sources is growing
as more news sources shift away
from print, but that does not mean
everything posted online is true.
Now more than ever, it is
important to think critically about
the news appearing'online.