War reporters in the 21st century deal with intensifying industrial, technological and political challenges that makes their work more and more precarious. That is the main takeaway of Lindsay Palmer’s new book Becoming the Story: War Correspondents since 9/11.What is not seen during reports of war is the labor of storytelling, which places individuals in safety catastrophes.
After interviewing more than 80 correspondents and more than 20 news editors and executives for research, Palmer believes she has written a book that serves to have some “real world” applications for journalism students and scholars.
She first became interested in the project as she was completing her undergraduate studies in broadcast journalism and felt both fear that the U.S. was invading another sovereign nation and fascination with the television news reporting that was coming out of Iraq during that time. By combining those two reactions, she started the book as part of her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She hopes readers see her critical stance of U.S. foreign policy after 9/11, as well as what journalists need to do to report on these dangerous stories.
“War reporters have to keep working, in a sense, even after they’ve been injured or killed,” Palmer says. “Even after the correspondents as individuals can no longer write the stories themselves.”
Palmer is currently working on her second book which looks at the labor of news “fixers”—the local media employees who act as translators and guides for foreign correspondents visiting their regions.