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Tom Brokaw: Risks and rewards from warzone reporting

December 18th, 2012
05:15 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Veteran anchor Tom Brokaw kept tabs on his colleague, Richard Engel, from the first days of his captivity in Syria, he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

Engel was freed on Monday after five days of captivity in Syria, where he was reporting for NBC.

Engel believes his kidnappers were members of the Shabiha – the militia allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – and that his captors hoped to exchange him and his team for Iranian agents held by the Syrian opposition.

It is the nightmare that shadows all journalism organizations and reporters who cover the world's danger zones.

For more than two decades Tom Brokaw was the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. He oversaw Engel from his first days at the news network.

Brokaw said he was overjoyed when Engel was released, but added that there is an extremely delicate balance between a reporter’s safety and the important work of doing journalism on the front lines.

“Now that Richard is out, I said one of the after-action evaluations we have to do is: What are the risks and what are the rewards for these assignments,” Brokaw told Amanpour, “But at the same time you’ve got to get on the ground to find out what is going on.”

The Committee to Protect Journalist says this was one of the deadliest years for journalists: Sixty seven have been killed covering stories this year.


Filed under:  Journalism • Latest Episode
soundoff (12 Responses)
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    For some war correspondence there may be a thrill or sense of adventure and experiencing being in or close to trouble spots throughout the world. A war correspondent needs to determine whether the emotional high of being in combat areas is justified

    December 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  2. Sam

    I would think that the media company for which he works for should have him sign waiver of all responsibility from the company. It is known that there is higher pay, more or less called hazordous duty pay. Does that mean he/she has a free pass to do what ever it takes to get that story. Most people do not believe that this story is true. His explanation does not fit the situation. It simply wouldn't have happened that way. People with brains would know that.

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