Our editors & readers talk
Reuters, like the few other foreign news organizations still present in Baghdad, could not operate without Iraqi journalists to report, film and photograph life and death on the streets of Iraq. So I came to Baghdad to meet them and see how our operation works.
Our compound, protected by blast walls, razor wire, searchlights, armed Iraqi guards and British security advisers, is on the east bank of the Tigris across the river from the fortified Green Zone. Its the workplace for about 40 journalists. Only seven of them are non-Iraqis our British bureau chief, four correspondents who are Basque, British, Lebanese and South African, a Filipino chief photographer and a television producer who is Jordanian.
We have Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in our newsroom and all are aware of the Reuters reputation for fairness and accuracy and how they must help maintain it. Like Reuters journalists anywhere in the world, they leave their politics, ethnic roots and religion at home.
Several of our staff have been with Reuters since before the 2003 invasion when working for a foreign news agency meant the risk of falling foul of Saddam Husseins security men. Others joined us after the invasion. As in so many places where conflict convulses a country, some of our more recent colleagues are accidents of history who have switched to journalism when their world was turned upside down.
This weekend I participated in (another) debate about citizen journalism at the Battle of Ideas in London.
With journalism in something of a state of self-doubt (lack of trust from parts of the audience, future of newspapers in doubt, questions over the business model), it seems that a debate about the future interactions of professional journalists with citizen journalists is a feature of conferences everywhere.
Weve had reporters blogs on Reuters.com for some time; now we want to expand the concept to have regular musings from me and some of our other senior editors on the site.
The reason is simple: we want to encourage much more conversation between those of us who are writing, editing and planning Reuters global news coverage and those of you who are reading and using it.