AP Foreign Journalist to Utah State U.: International Reporting Here to Stay



Marcie YoungThe Utah Statesman Utah State University

LOGAN?Daniel Pearl and Terry Anderson have a lot in common. Both were foreign correspondents, covering the news in violent and dangerous overseas regions. Both were settled, soon-to-be fathers, and both were kidnapped, held hostage and threatened by political extremists.

Anderson, however, survived.

“If you see pictures of me when I was taken, they’d be strikingly similar,” said Anderson, a former Associated Press bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon, and seven year hostage.

At a Utah State University sponsored lecture Monday, Anderson said Pearl was not a chance-taker but a journalist doing his job.

“Danny Pearl?was well aware it was a dangerous profession,” he said. “He knew what he was doing and he did it the best way he could.”

Even though Pearl was kidnapped while working, Anderson said the situation won’t put a halt on coverage in war zones and other dangerous areas of the world.

“It is a job that is inherently dangerous. We know that,” Anderson said.

Even though Pearl’s situation received massive amounts of coverage, violence against reporters has not been restricted to just one incident over the last six months. Since Sept. 11, 10 reporters have died while covering international stories, Anderson said.

Jeannie Johnson, a political science instructor and former State Department and political officer, also said journalists are known for the risks they take to report the news.

“People have died covering stories for a long time,” she said. “I don’t think [violence against reporters] dampens the journalistic spirit.”

The Sept. 11 attacks brought a flood of reporters to Central Asia, according to Columbia Journalism Review, with big news organizations adding anywhere from six to 12 reporters to the bureaus. As of Sept. 1, The New York Times staffed 26 bureaus; The Los Angeles Times had 21; and The Washington Post had 21 overseas bureaus. The Wall Street Journal depended on 40 bureaus with 119 correspondents, according to CJR.

During World War II, Sen. Hiram Johnson of California said, “The first casualty when war comes is truth.”

Anderson agreed, and although Johnson said the military often spins the truth during times of war, she also said journalists need to take responsibility for the roles they play.

Johnson said although the balance between the military and journalists is a touchy subject during times of war, she said there is a positive side.

“There is no way to mobilize the American public except for putting pictures in the living room,” she said.