WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Dangerous Job of Reporting from Overseas

Sep 9, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists discuss why they think the job is becoming more dangerous for foreign correspondents.

Americans were recently reminded of the dangers when two journalists – James Foley and Steven Sotloff – were kidnapped and executed by an extremist group in the Middle East.

The executions were recorded by the extremists.  None of the Shop Talk panelists have seen the videos or care to see them.

Rich Moreno said journalists -- such as Ernie Pyle -- have died in war zones in the past.  But he thinks it’s becoming even more dangerous for reporters to cover overseas conflicts because some terrorist groups are now targeting journalists.

Rich Egger wondered if part of the problem is the decreasing number of foreign correspondents working for specific news organizations today.  Many outlets are choosing to buy stories from freelance reporters, and those freelancers might be taking more risks to uncover a story that can be sold to multiple outlets.

Jasmine Crighton thinks freelancers might be getting targeted, though she pointed out NBC correspondent Richard Engel and his crew were kidnapped in Syria before being released five days later.  She said that case made a big splash, whereas the disappearance of a freelancer often does not make the news.

Crighton said the Committee to Protect Journalists reported 34 reporters have been killed so far this year.  70 were killed last year and 74 the year before.