Monday, September 14, 2009

Robohack's dilemma due to multi-tasking?

Colleagues are wondering about Stephen Farrell,pictured left in Jerusalem,sans beard and Pashto cap. The abducted NY Times reporter wwas recently freed by a controversial paratroopers' raid that left at least 4 dead, including his late right-hand man, Sultan Munadi.

Is the reason they "stayed too long" at the riverside because Farrell isn't really adept yet at working with a camera? That's a rookie's mistake and Farrell isn't a rookie--at least at being a war correspondent. But he is rather new to the all-in-one videographer-cum-investigative reporter schtick which the NY Times is promoting. Farrell underwent initial tech training in the summer, to prepare him for filing video and audio files to the At War Blog (notes from the front lines). Robohack has earned a reputation as a relentless Gearhead who can move quickly.

Although a veteran reporter, he's not like a TV news cameraman who's been doing it for is likely that Steve is trying to get too much, and work like a print journalist to get more facts, despite all the extra attention that camera equipment

The art of being a good broadcast journalist is knowing how little you
actually need, ie when you have enough to wrap and get out of there... doing tv and radio together, even tho they are similar, slows you down considerably. Patrick Cockburn's wonderful war reporter's diary talks about his modus operandi in Baghdad, staying in places no more than 10 minutes, which won't work if you must get the pics and tape the interviews too.

Jon Swain, a notable Times of London correspondent, examines the incident too., as does ex-Observer editor Donald Trelford, who still is haunted by risktaking after one of his foreign correspondents got beheaded in Iraq. It's distressing to see that the Times has cropped the late fixer/interpreter, Sultan Munadi, completely out of the photo!

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