Richard Pendry

Sub-contracting newsgathering in Iraq

International journalists in an increasing number of areas of conflict have become dependent on locally-hired journalists and fixers to gather news. News professionals are now targeted for kidnap and murder in much of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as Iraq. This paper looks at how Iraqi reporters working for an international journalist 'sub-contract' their newsgathering because of risk. It investigates the ethical problems and the advantages of working like this. The article shows how an international editor in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq works with reporters in Falluja and Baghdad on a potentially hazardous story. This work offers a glimpse at the complexities of international and local reporters working together under great pressure. It may be a significant development towards a new way of reporting conflict.

Keywords: war reporting, sub-contracting, local journalists, fixers, Iraq


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Note on the contributor

Richard Pendry lectures in broadcast journalism at the University of Kent's Centre for Journalism. He researches into current reporting practices in areas of conflict and his areas of interest are Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus. In the 1990s he worked for Frontline News Television, an agency which worked in areas of conflict. Pendry is a Russian speaker and has reported from all over the former Soviet Union including Chechnya, the Congo and Afghanistan.