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August 16, 2005
Or "One Day in the Life of the News From Iraq"
From the NY Times, August 15 2005:
Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.Now, rather than body count, lets play a game called word count. The word of the day is "perception".
"It was uncomfortable questioning The A.P., knowing that Iraq is such a dangerous place," she said. "But there's a perception that we're not telling the whole story."Did you count three? I counted three.
Mr. Silverman also said the wire service would make more effort to flag articles that look beyond the breaking news. As it turned out, he said, most of the information in the anonymous e-mail message had been reported by The A.P., but the details had been buried in articles or the articles had been overlooked.Indeed - as they were intended to be. I first wrote about that technique last January. And yes, we're going to demonstrate the same thing again.
But first, another point from the Times story:
Before the meeting, The A.P. collected three articles by reporters for other news organizations who were embedded with American troops and sent them out over the wire to provide "more voice."Well, I for one applaud the effort.
But just for fun, I also used the search window at the Times web site to look for every article containing "Iraq". Here are all the AP articles dated August 15, 2005 that the NY Times chose to place on it's website - (I don't think I found any of those three...):
A Daily Look at U.S. Military DeathsAnd, from the NY Times sports section, the Kansas City news from Seattle:
Bell Misses Game for Nephew's ServiceWhat's your perception?
Oddly enough, that same day, August 15, 2005, CENTCOM made this press release available to the world:
August 15, 2005And this one too:
August 15, 2005Oh my, here's another
August 15, 2005And we already linked a fourth one yesterday.
August 15, 2005I'm sure those stories are covered somewhere by the AP too, but I really don't have time to see if those details had been buried in articles or the articles had been overlooked. I've been to Iraq, and read the blogs from the guys that are still there today.
Here's The Dawn Patrol for August 15th.
Here's the latest from Mike Yon.
And here's Arthur's latest "Good News from Iraq"
To be fair though, I'll give the last word to the AP/NY Times - a final quote from the first story linked above:
Before the meeting, The A.P. collected three articles by reporters for other news organizations who were embedded with American troops and sent them out over the wire to provide "more voice." Mr. Silverman said he wanted to do more of that but the opportunities were limited because there are only three dozen embedded journalists now, compared with 700 when the war began more than two years ago.Yep, that's my perception too.
Update James Taranto at Best of the Web:
And indeed, here's an AP Baghdad dispatch that moved yesterday on the AP wire:The capital's Sadr City section was once a hotbed of Shiite Muslim unrest, but it has become one of the brightest successes for the U.S. security effort.A Google News search--which is wide-ranging but not comprehensive--turned up only two newspapers that have published the Sadr City story: the Chicago Sun-Times and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The story is not terribly time-sensitive, so let us hope that other papers will pick it up.
Posted by Greyhawk / August 16, 2005 6:38 PM | Permalink
This summary of good news seems to grow with each issue; compare the volume and breadth of all the good that's being done, against the drum beat defeatism from the mainstream media (MSM). Read More
If not, why not? For good reasons you should be go here, here, and here. If you are looking for the best rundown on what is going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the world, you should look for at this... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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