The art of war reporting

The video is an example of a piece war reporting by the Los Angeles Times.

I think war journalists are always trying to find new ways in reporting what’s going on in war zones that they are covering. The disruptions and disasters that occur sadly provides them with good content that can be used to craft emotion-inducing articles. I like this particular article because I think the writer does a good job of painting a picture of what’s unfolding in Iraq.

Below are a few excerpts from the article:

Each week, the graveyard on a barren brown hill swells. Every new dirt mound is more evidence Islamic State’s ruinous campaign in northwestern Iraq.

Stray dogs creep beside hundreds of slim Arabic headstones that stand cracked and broken, pummeled by the militants who considered them sacrilegious. A black plume of smoke fills the sky, rising from oil fields torched by the violent jihadi group to foil any new invaders.

*****

“At the back of the cemetery, where even the broken headstones vanish, Owaisha Hamdan sits in the dust next to three graves.

The first is that of her son, killed last week by an Islamic State car bomb. The other two, covered with a pink teddy bear blanket, belonged to her newborn nephews. Just a few days old, the boys died in their mothers’ arms last week as they attempted to flee the toxic fumes belching from a sulfur plant attacked by Islamic State.”

If you read the paragraphs above, this technique of writing can only be achieved if the reporter was actually out there  on the front lines talking to families affected by war.

The point of my post is to not only highlight the good descriptive writing that the writer is able to execute, but also to convey how amazing it is to see that some reporters go the extra length to tell the stories of victims of war. As we’ve discussed in class throughout the semester, reporters are responsible of conveying the truth — a huge public service — and this kind of reporting is one of them. I think it’s important to tell stories of these people to raise awareness of what’s going on in war torn countries. But war reporting also brings up the question of ethics. I think it takes a lot to report and share stories of victims of war knowing that you might not be able to help them, and that you can go back after your work, but they are forced to stay there.

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