After Egyptian troops moved against pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators early Wednesday, at least two of the dead were journalists. Snipers were reportedly shooting at members of the media, though that could not be confirmed. According to a report from NPR's Leila Fadel, those killed included a photographer for Sky News and a reporter for Gulf News, based in Dubai.
They are far from alone. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 16 journalists worldwide have been killed in combat or crossfire so far this year. (That number comes in addition to eight who were killed on what the committee calls "dangerous assignments" and nine who were murdered.)
Despite the danger, reporters and photographers continue to accept and even seek assignments in war zones, and the advent of smart phones that can make audio and video recordings has given rise to so-called "war tourists" trying to join them. The Daily Circuit looks at how war correspondence has changed over the years, at what keeps journalists going back for more, and at what makes them decide to stop.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WAR CORRESPONDENCE:
• Shooting the messengers
There is an anecdote (possibly apocryphal; I've seen it told in various forms) from when the Daily Express and the Daily Mail were arch rivals, ferociously competing over readers in the mid-market. After the Daily Mail correspondent suffers an injury while reporting on a battle, the hapless Express hack is upbraided by a cable from his editor in London: "Mailman shot. Why you unshot." (Ed Caesar, British GQ)
• Haunting Images Chronicle 165 Years Of A World At War
"We need to tell the public, the public of the entire world what war is really like," says photo editor John Morris. During World War II, Morris ran Life magazine's London office. He was photographer Robert Capa's editor, and later the picture editor at The New York Times and the Washington Post. Morris says the public doesn't get to see everything — not all of war's brutalities.
"As a picture editor, I've often had to make decisions about what the public needs to see and what is going to make the reader throw up," Morris says. "It's a fine line. At The New York Times, I had a bottom drawer full of pictures that were unpublishable, mostly because they were too much to take. One doesn't want to wipe the public in blood. One wants to get the public to learn to avoid bloodshed." (Susan Stamberg, NPR)
• "I never get used to it"
On Memorial Day the white crosses in what was probably the largest American cemetery in the war at that time were shimmering in the hot morning sun. Detachments from every division assembled with their banners. Thick smoke from our concealment screen drifted across one edge of the field, and one could hear the sound of our guns and the motors of the ambulance planes which lifted away toward Naples every few minutes, bearing the injured ... When orators and formations had marched away, I came upon six new bodies stretched in the sun behind the canvas curtains at the field's edge. The burial sergeant was a West Virginia schoolteacher who begged me not to write a story about what he was doing in the war. One of his assistants said: "You get used to it after a while." The sergeant answered: "That isn't true — I never get used to it." He looked at the bodies and went on: "With a thousand, it would just be a problem of sanitation. With six, it seems like a tragedy." (Eric Sevareid, "Not So Wild a Dream")
• A TED Talk by war correspondent Janine Di Giovanni:
• War correspondent Chris Hedges on his book, "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning":