Saturday, July 31, 2004
Good journalism: I'm often quick to criticize the media for shoddy reporting, lack of research and inaccurate headlines, so I'm pleased to point out examples of really good journalism -- this time by the Union-Tribune. Reporter Rick Rogers and photographer Nelvin Cepeda were with the U.S. Marines in Iraq as they battled for Fallujah. The story is moving and fills one with an enormous sense of pride in our fighting men.
The media in general has some criticism rightfully directed its way by the Marines -- and it's something that I've heard personally from several of my friends who are Marines based at nearby Camp Pendleton.
As word of the violence spread, the media gathered for a closer look.
"One reporter said, 'It can't be that bad,' " recalled 1st Sgt. William Skiles, Echo Company's top enlisted man.
"Well," Skiles recalled, "the Armored Assault Vehicle had just stopped to let the media off when the first (assault rifle) rounds flew overhead. Then came the (rocket propelled grenades). There weren't a whole lot of stories filed that day because the reporters were face down in the dirt."
During the encounter, journalists often asked Skiles, 43, of San Juan Capistrano, for information for their reports about the fighting, but he thought they were missing something.
"I kept thinking: What about valor? Why weren't any of the reporters interested in the valor of our Marines?
"All anyone wants to write about is our dead and wounded," he said, thumbing through military papers that included nominations for Silver and Bronze stars.
The rest of the article recalls much of that valor, finally providing Americans with the rest of the story.