Writing in wartime
In war, soldiers— pilots, officers, infantrymen— follow detailed orders to accomplish their missions; they carry out carefully crafted battle plans with the ultimate objective of seeing their country prevail. But a hazy, unknown middle ground belongs to the scribes— the writers and reporters covering the conflict. Despite their national loyalties, war correspondents must try to report what they see objectively.
Among the many articles written from the current conflict in Afghanistan, a December 2001 piece in the Independent by American writer Robert Fisk stands out. Fisk has been stationed in Pakistan, reporting on local Afghan refugees. But as anti-American fervor swelled, he was savagely beaten. He did not blame his attackers, however, writing that he would have done the same thing in their situation.
Such stories of the role of the media in war will be covered in the upcoming University of Virginia Center for Governmental Studies’ 2002 National Symposium on Wartime Politics.
In “Crisis Coverage: The Evolving Role of the Media,” Ed Foster of USA Today, UVA’s Paul Freedman, Ann Klenk from the National Journal, and Mark Jurkowitz of the Boston Globe will join political analyst Larry Sabato to discuss the powerful role of the media in covering war in today’s society and will consider how the media’s influence has changed and grown since coverage of the Civil War, World War II, and wars since.
The Symposium will cover more than the role of the media. “Political Leadership in Times of Crisis: A Historical Perspective” and a speech by Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold are other highlights.
Writing about war can be problematic, but the Center’s 2002 National Symposium on Wartime Politics will illuminate the significant issues.
The University of Virginia Center for Governmental Studies’ National Symposium on Wartime Politics begins Wednesday, April 3, with “Crisis Coverage: The Evolving Role of the Media” at 7pm in Gilmer Hall Room 130. Other topics include “Political Leadership in Times of Crisis: A Historical Perspective” in the Rotunda Dome Room on Tuesday, April 9, at 7pm, and Senator Feingold speaking at the UVA Law School’s Caplin Auditorium on Sunday, April 14, at 4pm. All events are free and open to the public. 243-3540