The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been covered extensively by the television news media, thanks in part to embedding, an arrangement between media outlets and the military to allow civilian journalists to travel with the troops into active war zones. Embedding is a new phenomenon that was born of journalist frustration with having to report the previous Gulf War at a distance [source: Ignatius]. While the effectiveness and objectivity of embedded journalism has come under fire, it is unquestionably one of the most extreme and dangerous jobs in TV.
In January 2006, ABC anchorman Bob Woodruff and his cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured when their Army infantry convoy tripped a roadside bomb called an improvised explosive device (IED). Woodruff sustained traumatic brain injury from the rocks and debris that pierced his skull during the explosion and suffers lingering speech difficulties from the trauma. Vogt also sustained injuries to his head, as well as a broken shoulder [source: Weiss].
Unfortunately, Woodruff isn't alone. IEDs have severely injured and even killed a number of embedded TV and print journalists. Over a few difficult months in 2009, British and Canadian journalists were killed in separate IED explosions while traveling the treacherous roads of Afghanistan; several more TV journalists lost limbs [source: Boone].
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the dual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the most dangerous for media in modern history [source: Weiss].
Keep reading for lots more behind-the-scenes views of extreme entertainment.
- ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. "We've compiled a list of all the journalists who have been in some way threatened, attacked or detained while reporting in Egypt…" February 3, 2011 (Accessed March 12, 2011.)http://abcworldnews.tumblr.com/post/3089328425/weve-compiled-a-list-of-all-the-journalists-who
- Boone, Jon. The Guardian UK. "How journalists embedded in Afghanistan are too close for comfort." January 10, 2010 (Accessed March 12, 2011.)http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/10/journalists-afghanistan-deaths-kidnapping
- Doty, Dan. Inside The Wild Within. "Crew blog: Alaska -- How to Not Die on a Mountain." January 12, 2011 (Accessed March 12, 2011.)http://blog.travelchannel.com/inside-the-wild-within/2011/01/12/crew-blog/
- Giblin, Paul. The New York Times. "2 News Helocopters Crash in Phoenix, Killing All 4 on Board." January 28, 2007 (Accessed March 10, 2011.)http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/28/us/28chopper.html
- Ignatius, David. The Washington Post. "The dangers of embedded journalism, in war and politics." May 2, 2010 (Accessed March 12, 2011.)http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/30/AR2010043001100.html
- Ryan, Maureen. Chicago Tribune. "Dr. 'Survivor.'" September 16, 2004 (Accessed March 12, 2011.)http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2004/09/dr_survivor.html
- Storm Chasers. "Storm Chasers: Behind the Chase" (Accessed March 11, 2011.)http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/storm-chasers-behind-the-chase/
- Storm Chasers. "The Production Crew Answers Your Questions" (Accessed March 12, 2011.)http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/storm-chasers/production-crew-q-and-a.html
- Weiss, Joann and Barnard, Anne. The Boston Globe. "Two ABC journalists injured in Iraq." January 30, 2006 (Accessed March 12, 2011.)http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/01/30/two_abc_journalists_injured_in_iraq/
NPR and PBS have been on the air for years, amid recurring calls for government defunding. Learn more about U.S. public broadcasting at HowStuffWorks.