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Number of 'embedded' US journalists reporting from Iraq has dwindled sharply, says WP

Number of 'embedded' US journalists has dwindled sharply
Embedded reportage: As security has improved, though, journalists have begun to travel with relative ease and to secure interviews with people who just months ago were too afraid to talk. But the increasingly political nature of the story, and the deteriorating situation on America's other battlefields, poses new challenges for journalists here and in newsrooms back home.

The number of foreign journalists reporting from Baghdad has been declining sharply, says a Washington Post report.

The number of journalists travelling with US forces in Iraq has plummeted in the past year. US military officials say they "embedded" journalists 219 times in September 2007. Last month, the number dwindled to 39. Of the dozen US newspapers and newspaper chains that maintained full-time bureaus in Baghdad in the early years of the war, only four are still permanently staffed by foreign correspondents. CBS and NBC no longer keep a correspondent in Baghdad year-round.

More from the Post report:

Veteran journalists say stories about Iraq, where roughly 155,000 US troops are deployed and where the United States spends approximately $10 billion a month, have become tougher to get on the air and into print. News coverage that once centered largely on the US military experience is shifting, like the country itself, to a story of Iraqis taking the halting, often mundane steps toward building their own government.

More than five years after the US-led invasion, many of the most important stories in Iraq, such as debate over election laws and negotiations over the legal framework that will govern the presence of US troops here after the United Nations mandate expires at the end of the year, are playing out incrementally and often behind closed doors.

The number of US foreign correspondents in Iraq started on the decline in the fall of 2004 when the security situation deteriorated. Several news organizations found it too costly and dangerous to keep journalists in Iraq.

Some more excerpts, this time about costs:

During some periods of the war, particularly the height of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007, embedding with the US military became the only way of reaching much of the country. News organizations that remained in the country saw their security costs soar. Most purchased armored vehicles, which often cost more than $100,000, and hired Western and local security guards at rates exceeding $1,500 a day.

As security has improved, though, journalists have begun to travel with relative ease and to secure interviews with people who just months ago were too afraid to talk. But the increasingly political nature of the story, and the deteriorating situation on America's other battlefields, poses new challenges for journalists here and in newsrooms back home.

Date posted: October 15, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 434