This has been a trying week at work and I've neglected my blogging duties once again. However I've collected some interesting items which will be posted throughout this week.
Here's the first. Would you like to cover the Iraqi War? I received the following late last week:
MARINES INVITE MEDIA TO EMBED
The Marines are looking for a few good--REPORTERS. 1st Battalion 25th
Marines of New England is extending an invitation to all media for an
opportunity to witness first-hand what it takes to be a member of this
elite fighting force! Learn about the 25th Marines and track their
activities during their year deployment in Iraq. Two possible options to
embed with 1/25...
Option 1: Stateside - Attend Mojave Viper, counter insurgency training, in
Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Training is scheduled in mid Feb. (specific dates to be announced soon).
You can embed with 1/25 during their rigorous pre-deployment training in
the desert of California near Palm Springs. Mojave Viper provides Marines
realistic training in preparation for their tour in IRAQ.
No special equipment necessary for this trip. Media can chose length of
stay up to three weeks from units' arrival. Reporters are responsible for
all travel expenses.
Option 2: Join 1/25 in Iraq - Embed with the unit in Fallujah.
Reporters are welcome to join the New England based unit beginning in
April 2006. Reporters are required to fund all travel expenses to/from
Baghdad. All meals and local travel provided at no cost once there. Iraq
bound reporters will be provided with a list of required protective
equipment necessary for this trip.
If you are interested in a personal view of the Marine mission either in
Twentynine Palms, Calif. or Fallujah, Iraq, please complete the basic
request form below and send to your local public affairs representative
* Brief bio, including any previous embed experience
* Sample of articles published as an embedded journalist (if
* Date requested to begin embed (29 Palms: Feb-Mar or Iraq: April-Oct)
* Date requested to terminate embed
* Statement of intent (what you would like to cover while embedded
* For Baghdad bound journalists, you will also be required to provide
your weight, number and
weight of all bags, SSN and blood type (this is for military travel
arrangements and cargo planning).
Please direct questions regarding guidelines and ground rules to your
local public affairs representative below.
Lastly, if you are not able to deploy with the unit but still want to keep
in contact with the Marines and their activities, contact your local
public affairs office below.
Gunnery Sergeant Pete Walz
Public Affairs Chief
1st Battalion 25th Marines
Ft. Devens Reserve Forces Training Area
Ayer, MA 01434
Now if I was 25 or so and single, I would probably consider applying. There is something about seeing a historic event up close that is very seductive despite the very real danger you would be facing along with the troops.
Two of my reporters want to cover the desert training. One would apply for the overseas duty if her personal situation would allow her.
I'm asking the publisher if he would pay for their air fare and if he agrees they will be sending in their applications.
Massachusetts has sent many of its residents over to Iraq and our newspapers have carried two series of reports filed by area folks who are there. Some people might wonder why a group of community weeklies would want to cover something like the Iraqi War when usually our role is to cover more "down home news."
The fact is this war is "down home." Any time the president decides to risk the lives of American service men and women, that is indeed a LOCAL story. It's important for people to realize that this war, like others, is fought by people with whom we have a connection: friends, son, daughters, students, co-workers.
Perhaps its my childhood as the son of a career military officer manifesting itself, but that's why I'm always inclined to run articles about the people involved in this conflict. I don't what this war to become an abstraction.
And I'm afraid that for many it has always been an abstraction. But for the people who follow the news each day to see what is happening or wait for that call or e-mail, this war is part of their day to day lives.