Media Embedded In This War Conflict - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/24/03

Media Embedded In This War Conflict

A former Biloxi newspaper editor thinks the new age war coverage is good. "People are watching this news," said Mike Tonos. "They're hungry for this news."

Tonos is a media relations consultant. In 1991, he was the Sun Herald's managing editor. Sending a reporter to cover that Gulf War was never an option. "No, that was the farthest thing from our minds," he said. These days hundreds of reporters are in Iraq, embedded with the military. They're giving a news hound like Tonos unprecedented access to this war. "I know I've had my TV on almost full time, watching the news and going back and forth between the news channels," Tonos said.

These new embedded war correspondents have the ability to show TV viewers a fire fight, and an air assault as they're happening. The descriptions by the reporters are filled with tension. "You may hear another jet," an MSNBC reporter embedded with a unit in Iraq told his viewers. "I can actually see it against the night sky passing over me right at this very moment."

According to Tonos, this sort of reporting "is information that they want and probably need at this point."

Lou Campomenosi said viewers need that information, "to a degree." Campomenosi is the dean of Tulane's Biloxi campus. He teaches a course on how the media reported on the Vietnam war.

As TV pictures and sounds have already proven, the embedded reporter's role in America's latest conflict will be dramatically different.

"I think it's fascinating because we're all part of this, particularly those of us who have been in the military," he said. "I'm a Gulf War veteran myself. So seeing all of this again is fascinating."

by Brad Kessie

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