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Reporting From the War Zone: At What Cost?

SHOWCASE | May 01, 2004

Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid won a Pulitzer for stunning coverage of life in Iraq in 2003. Here, in a Nieman Foundation lecture, he describes events of almost unbearable cruelty, and violence that is now commonplace.

Just a few weeks before he would receive the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his coverage of the Iraq war, Washington Post foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid delivered the 2004 Joe Alex Morris, Jr., Memorial Lecture at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

His fundamental question: "How do we guard against danger without sealing ourselves off?"

Shadid worries about journalists traveling with armed guards and living behind concrete barricades.

"We're cut off from the very city we cover. The psychological barriers are my greatest fear. Since they affect the very nature of our reporting, there's always this question of sentiments, and I think sentiments since the start of the conflict have been the great unknown. Is it occupation or liberation? Is it freedom or is it something short of that? I don't know that we've seen the long-term implications of our growing isolation."

Shadid, of course, provides an understated answer to the conundrum he presents in his own approach to reporting, which is enormously evocative, dogged – and accomplished without armed guards or pyrotechnics.

Here is the full text of his lecture: http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/events/honors/morris/SHADID_Morris.html

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