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Reporting under fire

May 31, 2006

The Tuesday deaths of two journalists and the serious injury to a third in Iraq remind us once again of what some reporters face as part of the job of keeping citizens informed.

This is not to diminish in any way the sacrifices of soldiers in the field, but without reporters, how much of that might be lost to Americans who don't have a friend, relative or child to tell them what it was really like.

The three - Kimberly Dozier, a 39-year-old American, Paul Douglas, a 48-year-old British cameraman and James Brolan a 42-year-old freelance soundman from Britain - were attacked by a car bomber as they worked on a story about Memorial Day in Iraq.

Brolan and Douglas died in the blast, while Dozier was flown to Germany, where The Associated Press reported she had undergone two surgeries, one for removal of shrapnel from her head.

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Reuters News Service reported Monday that since the U.S.-led invasion began in March 2003, more than 670 Iraqi and foreign journalists have been killed there.

Becoming a reporter is not like enlisting in the military. If you decided that the life of a battlefield correspondent is not for you, it's possible to take a safer assignment in the U.S.. Most don't

Staying is a major risk. As the Committee to Protect Journalists noted in a special 2006 report, too many reporters die not because of stray fire, but because someone doesn't like the job they're doing. That they continue to do it to keep us informed is something we should never forget.

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