Operation Danger Zone

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Journalism was already a dangerous business for those whose beats were war zones, authoritarian governments or organized crime. But today’s danger zone journalism is more perilous than ever before, so much so that major media organizations refuse to allow their journalists to cover some regions or to accept freelance material from there.

Maria Armoudian’s new book, Reporting from the Danger Zone: Frontline Journalists, Their Jobs and an Increasingly Perilous Future (Routledge 2016), explores the changing world for frontline reporters—both foreign and local—how they do their jobs, what they risk and face, and ultimately why we receive some stories but not others.  It is the story behind the stories.

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Kidnappings, torture, detention and post-traumatic stress are some of the experiences that can impair a journalist’s ability to continue in the profession.

Many factors have changed the equation, among them, the Internet. With new communication technologies, fighters no longer need journalists to tell their stories, instead disseminating their unfiltered messages and frames directly to the public, free from the check of independent journalism. And though the internet also gives voice to oppressed citizens to communicate outside of closed borders, it has simultaneously empowered groups such as the Islamic State to expand their reach to persuade and terrorize.

In this new equation, journalists are part of the story, not just storytellers. The harrowing public displays of their deaths are part of the information wars waged by extremists. The gruesome public killings of correspondents capture attention, induce grief across the globe, and project power and persuasion for new recruits.

The Veterans Project is fortunate to have Dr. Armoudian as an adviser as we fill the void on multiple fronts: providing security services in war zones, preparing reporters to work in hazardous situations and devising new ways to finance investigative journalism.

Dr. Maria Armoudian is the host and producer of the syndicated radio program, The Scholars’ Circle. She is also Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland, and the author of Kill the Messenger: Media’s Role in the Fate of the World.

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