Conflict journalists share tales

Friday, April 16, 2010

Karl Vick, of the Washington Post, at the 38th annual First Amendment Forum �Is Journalism Safe?� Friday, April 16 in the Atwood Memorial Center Little Theatre.

  Paul R. Hannah First Amendment Forum logo 

For two war reporters, Karl Vick of the Washington Post and Mark Brunswick of the Star Tribune, the question, “Is journalism safe?” is rhetorical. They both have risked life and limb to bring home news on foreign wars.

Vick and Brunswick were keynote speakers, with the topic “Risking Lives for the News,” at the 38th annual First Amendment Forum “Is Journalism Safe?” on Friday, April 16 in the Atwood Memorial Center Little Theatre. 

“There are risks to you, and risks to people you talk to and associate with,” said Vick, who has been a foreign correspondent covering volatile conflicts including the war in Iraq and the Ethiopia-Eritrea War.

Vick detailed how he reluctantly became a war correspondent and Nairobi bureau chief at the Washington Post. Nine of the 11 countries he covered in east Africa had conflicts. 

“In covering a conflict; if you don’t die, they figure you know how to stay alive,” said Vick, a Little Falls native. 

“There is a sense of accomplishment in just coming back,” said Brunswick, who has covered conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.   

To Vick, while serving as bureau chief, journalism was his third priority.

“Security was number one,” said Vick, who thought managing the 40 people at the bureau was second on the list. 

Both agreed the danger for war zone locals, working with journalist, is tremendous.

“Everyone we talk to is in peril� because you’re American, you’re a target,” said Vick.

“Every day you send an Iraqi out to cover something you wonder if it is worth it,” said Brunswick about the locals who are able to cover situations that the journalists are not.

The schedule and panel discussions included:

  • 9 a.m. “Rising Lives for News.”  Keynote speakers: Karl Vick; Mark Brunswick.
  • 10 a.m. “Keeping Reporters Safe.”  Panelists: Casey Mahon, former director of the International Media Center; Kari Petrie, reporter St. Cloud Times; Paul R. Hannah, attorney and partner at Kelly & Berens, Minneapolis; Mark Brunswick; Karl Vick.
  • 11:30 a.m. Defense of First Amendment Award: Paul R Hanna.
  • 1:15 p.m. “Protecting Journalism in the Era of Changing Newspapers and Social Networking.”  Panelists: Adam Hammer, online content producer St. Cloud Times; Ambar Espinoza, reporter Minnesota Public Radio; Ramla Bile, writer, Mshale, The African Newspaper of Minnesota; Karl Vick; Bob Collins, report Minnesota Public Radio.

The First Amendment Forum is sponsored by the St. Cloud State student chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, Dean Todd DeVriese and St. Cloud State College of Fine Arts and Humanities, Minnesota Newspaper Association, St. Cloud State Department of Mass Communications, St. Cloud Times, Upper Midwest Chapter of National Television Academy, Professor Michael Vadnie, KVSC Radio.    



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