| ASNE's annual convention is the largest annual gathering of newsroom leaders from daily newspapers and other news organizations. At ASNE 2012, editors and leaders in the field of journalism education will gather for programs focused on "What It Takes" to lead the digital and mobile transformation of a modern newsroom.
Dispatches from war correspondents
By Sarah Hogue
"You can't file if you're dead."
That's how C.J. Chivers of The New York Times described a dilemma that he and Times photographer Tyler Hicks faced while debating whether to move toward rocket fire or file their story and photos from a safer location.
The pair joined photographer Rodrigo Abd of The Associated Press on a panel about internal struggles and dangers they have faced in their tours abroad covering conflict.
The three opened by discussing their coverage of conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, where Hicks was one of four Times employees detained for six days.
Chivers said he placed a high value on contact with editors and his office. Locally, however, he found first aid and triage training extremely crucial when a colleague or civilian being interviewed was injured.
Moderator Susan Bennett, senior vice president of the Newseum, queried Hicks and Abd on how they were able to "get the story" amid the chaos of those regions. Their advice was simple: One must stay focused and calm. Experience also helps, they said, because one grows accustomed to expecting the unexpected.
Chivers, who has worked with Hicks many times and considers him a good friend, said he noticed that when things are quiet, Hicks is "bouncing off the walls." But when things are crazy, he's calm and diligent.
A major inner conflict faced by all three, they said, was whether to continue into a potentially dangerous situation that might provide a better angle. More often than not, they said, they chose to stay behind, not wanting to risk being unable to file if they were injured or killed. A question they ask themselves, Chivers said, is "when don't I need to shoulder risk?"
Chivers' experience as a U.S. marine sometimes put him at a disadvantage, conflicted when his gut feeling told him that where a patrol was going would be dangerous. One time he was right, he said, and a marine was shot.
To remain in the field, Chivers and Hicks agreed that staying in shape was crucial to keeping pace with troops and the action. Chivers said he would leave the profession only if he slowed down a patrol or was injured.
Sarah Hogue is a student at the University of Maryland. She is one of several local university journalism students reporting live from ASNE 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Apr 02 2012, 06:12 PM
About Amanda Knowles
Amanda Knowles is Web & Social Media Manager at the Newspaper Association of America. Before coming to NAA, Amanda spent four years working in print journalism, both at the college and professional level. She has worked as a copy editor and news page designer for two daily newspapers in northwestern Pennsylvania, The Erie Times-News and The Meadville Tribune. Most recently, she collaborated on The American Observer, the online magazine edited and produced by graduate journalism students at American University in Washington, D.C. Amanda believes strongly in the secure future of the newspaper, and is excited to be a participant in the movement to integrate traditional print media into the burgeoning digital world.