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tv   Reporting from Conflict Zones  CSPAN  August 11, 2015 4:42pm-6:08pm EDT

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see that it's all men, it's all white, and the people who, and to his point about -- >> oops. >> and to his point about ferguson, the people who make the decisions on what stories to get deep on aren't the -- it may not be an issue that resonates with you but there are issues that are going on. if this is the future, what's the problem? i mean because for me, and what happens is, you talk about people sidelining off to other sources, it's because you all aren't telling the stories that we want to hear and the decisions aren't being made at the top level that are broad, so if you are talking about the future and you think about the future of this country and where the demographics are going, you know, this is a little bit disheartening. [ applause ] >> fabulous question. it would be great if each of you could kind of delve into that as you look forward and as you look backward to see who is coming up behind you. >> it's an excellent point. other than brody what you look
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at here is the past of investigative reporting. >> well, thank you. >> things, despite the makeup of the panel, i think things are changing in the newsrooms, there are a lot of women, african-americans, hispanics and asians all taking posts of responsibility in all these groups so while we have been behind and not as aggressive as we should have been and be more diverse in our organizations that's very much a top line question. in terms of the topics tackled it's a fair point that the people who are in the decision-making positions are perhaps not in touch as they should be with some of these other questions, like inequality and race but i think that by and large the main organizations are at least making efforts to
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address that. >> look, it's an absolutely excellent point, diversity is important not just for the sake of diversity, because it does give other perspectives on what's the story, and you know, this doesn't speak directly to the issue of women or african-americans or minorities, but how you view something is very much, you know, you view something a little bit differently, and suddenly what you sort of might not think of as story can become an incredible story. ala ferguson, i remember covering the boston marathon bombing at the time and at the time it was a terror story and everybody was focused on, you
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know, who did this and were there terrorist links abroad and whole community, a whole major american cities terrorized and i remember watching the day that they identified the tsarnaev brothers and they were searching for the one who is now on trial, and seeing the, all the humvees and national guard and troops coming in heavily armed, and it was amazing. it was like being in a war zone, and at the time, i wasn't thinking about the militarization of our police departments and what kind of environment that was creating. i was covering a terrorism story but in retrospect, there it was, the same story that got a lot of people alarmed during ferguson when we saw the militarization
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of police was fully on display in boston, but that's not what people were talking about at the time. so i just use that as an example of how you look at something and you look at something slightly differently, and then your eyes open and you see a really major story, and that's something that diversity can contribute to, but it's also sort of onus on us to sort of take a look, take a step back and look at what we're seeing in a little different way and you suddenly see there's lots of other things to report. >> lou lombordo. care for crash victims. thank you for you people, all the good work that you've done. but i'd just like to ask for a little more elaboration on the question of how you prioritize your work. do you have anything that sort of says we're looking for the greatest good for the greatest number or anything like that?
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>> that's a really good question also. i think part of the issue is that sort of hard to figure out what the priorities should be on a day-to-day basis. i come into the office every monday and make a list of the five stories that i want to do in that year. and a few days later a little bit of a different list and a few days later a different list. what i try to do going back to another question we had, try to look for stories i can do on the short term to stay relevant in the news but then to try to pick the four or five stories whether they're sexy or not to try to do in that year, so that while you get distracted by all the noise that's out there and everything on twitter and everything on cable news, you try to keep your eye on the ball on good stories you can do on a monthly or quarterly basis, i think every good reporter has to do that these days. few people are getting a year to
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run stories. you compartmentalize yourself. shorter stories to keep you in the news, while staying focused on longer stories. otherwise you're constantly writing 300-word stories. >> i think it's just, there's some stories that affect millions of people are better for us than stories that affect hundreds of people, stories that have visual elements for abc are more interesting for stories that have none and stories we haven't heard of more are more interesting than those we've done before, those are like three threshold questions that i would ask and my producers would ask and our bosses would ask. just, you know, how many people are affected, how do we tell the story, what did we see and has somebody else done this before becomes a factor. >> larry? mike? anything? well, this has been phenomenal. brody mullens, larry roberts,
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ikele isakoff, brian ross, on behalf of cfa, thank you very much for spending time with us. [ applause ] >> today c-span3 eye highlights the work of journalists. coming up a discussion with journal is held hostage and their families. the "new york times" photojournalist robert nichols shares some of his photographs from the 25 years he spent in afghanistan and his firsthand exposure to the rise of militant
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groups in the region including al qaeda. after that, investigative journalism, the digital age, and consumer privacy. legal experts discuss the law and rapidly changing technology challenges. challenges. the c-span cities tour visited historic sites across the country to hear from local historians, authors and civic leaders every weekend on book tv and american history tv on c-span 3. this month with congress on the summer reves, find the cities tour on c-span every day at 6:00 eastern. today the live of lincoln, nebraska. including the biography of chief standing bear and a book about the removal of native american children from their homes. that starts at 6:00 eastern on
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c-span. tonight on c-span, the security threat posed by isis, the recruiting efforts and use of social media. here is john carlin. >> what the terrorist group will do is take seek to -- they seek to put their message out on platforms accesseds by the largest populations. so hundreds of thousands of people are accessing the website. and they bombard it every day with the propaganda. and the messages run across the board. so we're all familiar with the shocking images and despicable of what they'll show of public executions but what they also bombarding that same audience with targeted -- micro-targeted messages the same way that advertisers do.
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they'll show an islamic actor and in one video he's handing out candy to children and in the corn is isil, like it is for some other television show or brand. in another video they'll showed the armed terrorist or shoulder with a gun in one hand and the other hand he is holding a kitten. in other messages, handing out candy to children, they'll show images of bucolic life here in the caliphate. and so what they look to see whether or not they can, with this large-scale bombardment of images, can they get someone on the hook and then start to dangle them in. >> the aspen security forum featured panels on intelligence, threats to europe and special operations. watch the program in the entirety starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. freelance journalist david
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foley was beheaded in sear last aug. becoming the first american killed by isis. in late february his parents talked about her efforts to save their son and the frustrations with the federal government. also former a.p. correspondent terry anderson who was held hostage in lebanon for seven years. they are a panel of discussions hosted by the university of arizona. journalism has changed enormously over the last two decades. information that once moved at the speed of the printing press now moves at the speed of light. and smartphones and global internet have put the whole world into the palm of our hand. yet that relentless stream of news and data has not really made our world more comprehensible. speed and technology are one thing, context, something else altogether. for my and my colleagues in the
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school of journalism, serious journalism and real jurnism, the journalism we share with our students begins with a simple idea. it is about being there. not just to get the story, but to help illuminate places. it is often about reporters crossing frontiers in the hope they can bring light to the stories of the people who live in the world's darker places. yet these days this kind of journalism comes at a terrible price and it is that blunt reality that brings us together tonight. john and diane foley and terry aerpd can attest first hand to the brutal truth. we're grateful to them and my colleague david mccraw for joining us to share the experiences and thoughts about this hard, new world. today journalists are seen as targets. not only by terrorist organizations and narcotics cartels, but repressive governments. since the early 1990s more than
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1100 journalists have been killed and many more kidnapped or detained or driven into exile. it includes local reporters who lived and worked in the troubled places, it includes a growing number of freelancers and americans and other westerners enlisted to cover far-away conflict zones. the center for border and global journalism was launched last fall to bring greater focus to the challenges facing journalists as they engage in a more perilous world. working with academy departments and with the journal school faculty along the border with mexico but in the middle east and afghanistan, we hope to explore programs an initiatives to preverve and extend the free and independent global reporting that is essential to a democratic society. what can we all do as professionals, educators, advocates, to support the
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journalists who are out there now. how can we train and equip them and keep them as safe as possible. leading this discussion tonight is my colleague mort rosenblum, a member of the faculty in the journalism school and with me, codirector of the center. mort is a former foreign correspondent for at associated press and was in asia, africa, south america and europe. he is an author and has filed stories out of 200 different countries, a number of which, mort loves to point out, no longer exist. as mort knows as well as anyone, the essential qualities of a good correspondent have not changed much over time. now, as then, it is about curiosity, intelligence and importantly it is about empathy but more than ever these days it is about courage.
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the numbers are shocking. but tell only part of the story. behind the statistics, are rights who don't know what might happen next, and families who can only hope and pray for something better than the worst. in some regions the death toll for journal ichts arises with the outbreak of war. as happened in southeast asia in the 1960s and '70s. in other places such as a nearby border, the danger is ever present. since 1992, 32 journalists have been killed in mexico. until the 1980s, most were casualties of war. journalists were seen as observers and not part of it and seldom targeted. then in 1985 terry anderson, the associated press bureau chief in bay rut, was muscled into a
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green mercedes. seven years passed before he could meet seoula may, the daughter born while he was chained to a wall. his captures were on the fringe of the hezbollah. one tomorrow him, as if it were some comfort, don't worry, this is political. when anderson asked, his guard gave him a new red bible. executives worked with u.s. officials to get him released. the situation changed after 9/11. journalists were targeted for what they wrote and represented. daniel pearl was executed as he pursued al qaeda activity in pakistan. in the years since the number of journalists who have been victims has increased as an alarming rate. the threat can be seen clearly in france near the normandy beaches. in a tree-shaded park at the monument to reporters, 28
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columns have been engraved since world war ii with more than 2,000 names. men and women fallen on battlefields or assassinated or killed in accidents while covering the news. since 2001, many of the names have been those of georgetownalists, others who are freelancers who cover the news in the most dangerous areas within the continuing support of a large news organization. now with so many freelancers in the field, people such as new york times attorney david mccraw are working to confront the challenges facing journal ichts and families in this sichz. this year a fresh monument symbolizes the spirit and courage of freelance journalists but the families and friends who support them. james foley survived imprisonment in libya and
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ventured into syria to make conflict reshaping the world. he was executed on camera. foley's message about the importance of news was clear. the reporter must be there to tell the story. his parents now work tirelessly to make sure that an easily distracted world hears this message. his death is no reason to turn away from the danger. on the contrary. in america, and every other nation, people must support journalists who choose to go into dangerous places on the publics' behalf. thank you all for coming. and thank you all for coming. we have some serious business to discuss this evening. in fact, what could be more important than our eyes and our ears in the most perilous places of an overheating planet. just briefly some background
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before we start. about two seconds after i met diane and john foley and the annual war correspondent award in france, i knew this evening had to happen. people seldom get so warm and wonderful as you'll see in a moment. but their courage and strength are beyond any words i can come up with. among those white columns you just saw, we mourned also camilla path, a young french reporter killed on a border. in the central african republic, diane put aside her grief to help a distraught mother. foley's message is wise and unwaivering. we need those brave, prepared journalists out there in the ugliest parts of the world. to reflect realities that we all understand. and we have to realize what too many learn the hard way. the price is high.
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for them and for the families at home that support them. the foleys have started a foundation and we'll talk about that tonight on the homefront. and it brought to mind my old friend terry anderson who for seven years like so many others wore an aluminum bracelet with his name on it awaiting his release. when he emerged from the lion's den, a wee slip of a terry. >> none of us could believe his strength of spirit. today he teaches what the foleys tell us, reporters must be out there. and even today for terry it is still up close and intensely personal. seoula may, the cute little kid who we just saw welcoming home her father is now a reporter covering stories in lebanon and beyond. i asked terry last night if he was worried about her. dah.
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happily enough some gifted people work to help journalists in trouble. a stall wart is david mccraw. "the new york times" -- i have on my script, "the new york times" fifth amendment lawyer and bill schmidt glanced at it and said, i showed it to david who said well in arizona maybe the second amendment lawyer. but it is the first. and i underscore the first amendment, who is also here with us this evening. we're extremely grateful to have this panel. i'm actually -- the foleys are here because john got tired of shoveling snow in new hampshire but what the hell. terry teaches at the university of florida and his gators ain't freezing so. and david accepted bill schmidts invitation without a second hesitation and thank you again for coming. when i left tucson from here, actually this school, in the
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1960 toss get mixed up in faraway mayhem, you had to be unlucky or unaware to get into serious trouble. my first post was the congo covering a mercenary war with drug crazed wars with machetes who believe they turned bullets to water. but we knew who they were and stayed out of the way. and in vietnam before the government prevented the access and increased the danger, we could go anywhere we were dumb enough to go. in asia, latin america, we journalists are observers, not part of the stories. someone put it garnish on the side of the plate. pretty much across the board, combatants left us alone so we could tell their side. well today all of that has changed. we are no longer a definable press corp with correspondent who know one another and bosses
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back home watching our backs. freelance independence and reporters hired at low wages operate on their own. freelance means no wages. it means you get what you sell. governments arrest them. militias and terrorist groups hold them hostage. gangs with no political purpose kidnap them for ransom. that is our topic for tonight. what now? and keep in mind, because people tend to forget this, we're talking about journalists. if we, as journalists ask our government to protect us, we're asking them to control us. it is a pretty serious conundrum because that is not what we are. we are not there as representatives of any governments or anybody's anything. at the same time, u.s. citizens elect higher and -- hire and pay a government to do their
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business. and one job description is helping americans stay alive. we're not a policy pond for any administration. so let me start with terry. terry, if you can just give us a brief rundown of how the u.s. government first worked with hostage families back in the early '80s and then in your case, through the associated press, then what changed and how do you see it evolving? >> the american government used to look at hostage-taking as a criminal enterprise. and just as you do in crimes that involve hostages, what is the first thing you do. you bring in a negotiator. that doesn't mean you will give them anything or that you will reward them for what they are doing, but you have to talk.
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by the mid '80s, by 1985, when i was taken, the government was the reagan administration, they were insisting they would not negotiate with terrorists. well, as we all know, those of us old enough to remember the iran contra affair, they were negotiating with terrorists, as a practical matter, until they became public and then they stopped. up to that point, they were actually talking to the families of hostages. my sister peg, who many of you may remember, was a front person for a group of families and was very outspoken in her advocacy and her pressure on the government to get something done. the point man in the white house was a guy named ollie north, lieutenant colonel. and peg talked to ollie
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frequently. and then all of a sudden, it stopped. it got cut off. now, when president reagan pounded on the table and said we do not negotiate with terrorists, we mean it. it's not going to happen. the terrorists in fact didn't believe it for quite a while. but more importantly the people in the government that we -- our families had been going to for information and for help took refusal to negotiate to mean don't talk to anybody, including the families. and they cut everybody off. and that has pretty much continued since then and i think mr. and mrs. foley can pretty much testify that that is the way it goes. they would tell the families, don't go public, keep quiet, we
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are doing everything we can, but in fact, it was an excuse to do nothing. which was a real problem. >> thank you, terry. diane, that is starting to sound familiar from what we've talked about. what is your skpoerexperience, d john? >> well, jim, this was jim's second capture, if you will. he had been in captivity for 44 days in libya, and which in retrospect was so brief. but at least there his capture was -- had been witnessed by a new york times reporter. and we knew he was held by the government. and thus, the state department took the lead rather clearly in
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that case. and we were in touch with the state department. actually, it was another person who got him out. but nevertheless, the state department was in touch with us. the second time was very different. because we had no idea who had taken jim. he did not report back to his colleagues on thanksgiving day and we received a call from another freelancer who had been awaiting his return that jim didn't show up. that they had been stopped at gunpoint and captured. so we didn't know what to do. it was just surreal that this would happen again. and jim was freelance so we had no organization, if you will, behind him, to come and take care of things and take charge. so we were frantic really.
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and fbi eventually contacted us and told us they would be taking the lead because this was a kidnapping of an american citizen outside of the country. and we thought that was good. i mean, we needed help. so that is how it started. >> almost immediately the fbi convinced us to go into media silence. and sernl the captors felt similarly. in hindsight, i think that is one of my biggest regrets. media silence helped two entities, one is the fbi, and the other is the captors, the fbi had no pressure to go forward with jim's situation and obviously the captors wanted silence for obvious reasons. so this went on.
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and after about six weeks we really were hearing nothing -- absolutely nothing. and we were frantic. we fortunately were able to secure the services of a security team through jim's paper, global post, and we began our search. but for one year, we really didn't know where he was, nor whether he was alive. >> and at that time, what was most difficult is we really had no person in the government to go to. we had no one who was accountable for jim, if you will. or any of the others who were kidnapped. i started a series of trips to washington, going to state department and to fbi, just to remind them that jim was still missing. we didn't know if he was alive or not and such.
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and we -- we were very disappointed. and you know, we had no access to anyone with any power or who had any information. and we were not allowed to be part of the effort to get our son out. so i know we can do better, as families. we were -- at many points, i was just appalled at the way we were treated in some instances. >> i think, for a year -- it is important that for a year and a half, diane and i were both told that jim's situation was the highest priority, that everything possible was being done to bring him home but they could tell us nothing because everything was classified. >> what did they tell you if you would have gone ahard and started thinking about ransom on your own. >> there was a senior state department person,
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counter-terrorism. >> he was nsc, national security council so -- >> and we eventually got all four families together. and this is in roughly may of 2014. and he was very blunt. and in fact on three occasions said the same thing. number one, we're not going after him. number two, we're not going to negotiate. number three, we're not going to pay ransom, and number four, if you try to collect money, you could be -- be prosecuted or with high likelihood be prosecuted. at that point we realized we were on our o-- own. butten fortunately it was two and a half years later. so we gab to raise -- began to raise money in terms of pledging. we didn't want to handle the money. it is difficult to collect money from somebody or ask donations from somebody who might end up
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in jail. so we struggled with that but we had some very fine individuals who were going to go to bat with us. >> thanks. david, as it turns out, there is a new public information person at the department of the state who is one of us. a guy by the name of douglas france who was a tremendous investigative reporter at the new york times, at the los angeles times. as it happens i worked with him just after 9/11, we were both in cueto in pakistan, trying to get across the border. and doug -- doug gets it. he is a really good reporter. and he's -- he's gone over -- he was working on the senate foreign relations department and now up at the state department. so my question is, david, this came up at the museum in washington, and his answer was, look, these are american citizens and we're going to do the best we can and this is
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being studied and will something come from that, david. >> i hope so. and i want to thank the university for having me and for everyone who set this up to sit up here with these three brave peoples. it is none honor for me. this came about in 2008 because of one reporters david rode was kidnapped and i was the person designated to run the response to that and work with his family and work with the government. and that was shortly followed by another kidnapping and by detention four of our reporters in libya. and as a result of that, it was such a unpleasant and difficult experience, i committed a lot of my time to how can we avoid being in that position in the first place. and so i spent a lot of time working with people at the time about security. on the government question that mort asked, it is clear from the
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government questions that -- from the questions that the government can and should do better. diane and john and i were talking earlier, their experience as a family actually is not that different from what we experienced, even though we have access. new york times is a powerful institution and we know people, we can get people to come to the phone and still the failure of the government to share information was extraordinary. there are many, many good people working in government who are very helpful. doug france has always been extremely helpful on everything that we need and we appreciate that. but structurally the idea that the fbi is the lead agency makes absolutely no sense. and the fbi does not have the capacity to solve crimes committed in syria or in afghanistan. and they shouldn't be the lead agency. to give you the one example and then move on, which is that on
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thanksgiving day of 2008, the taliban called our bureau in kabul to negotiate for david who was being held. the fbi was assisting us very helpfully by coaching our reporters how to handle those calls. this call came -- the fbi could not get marine clearance to leave the embassy, to go to the bureau, to help our people. believe it or not, the taliban doesn't stay on the line waiting. [ laughter ] so this was a last opportunity. and it reinforced to us the limits of what the fbi can do. and of course, when it comes to getting intelligence, i'm not sure they are getting intelligence from the cia, the nsa or anyone else. i'm not sure there is that level of cooperation when something happens like happened to jim, it is very important that that information be front and center
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and acted upon. >> well, david, this has changed. back in 2003, gary noser was the head fbi guy for this sort of thing. and they were much more flexible thing. they would look the other way if somebody wanted to pay a ransom because it wasn't the government's business. i'm sorry, i'm answering your question. you know this -- >> no, and i have to say my experience was a little bit different in that a very high level fbi official called me and after david was kidnapped and he said, look, we're not having this conversation. but the way people get out of kidnappings is someone pays a rans ransom. don't be an idiot. and that conversation never happened. but that was more the style. i was shocked to hear what you went through because there was some practicality -- that was in
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2008-2009, i think there is a shift since then. >> diane and john, in france, when you spent a lot of time with reporters who had been out and had been taken and gotten away and for one reason or another, spanish and french reporters, what is your experience, and what is the difference between what goes on in europe and here? >> well, i found it was a huge difference. and that was rather shocking to me. once the spanish and french started coming out, i was just anxious to go there because it took the fbi months to get clearance. they couldn't even get the government to allow the french or the spanish, depending, to get access to those hostages. so the fbi encouraged me to go speak to them and to get as much information as i could. so of course i tried -- >> for them. >> for them.
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so i went as a mother, right. but what i was impressed with in paris was -- i had the privilege of going to talk to people in the foreign ministry and such. but i also had an opportunity to go to a meeting of the local media advocacy group that was -- had a representative from schools -- school of journalism, print, tv, radio and hostage families. and twice a month they would sit together and these were leading media people, you know. and they would vet a lot of the rumors, the families were hearing about their loved ones in captivity. we came to found the journalists often knew more than the fbi, that they really knew. but they didn't know who to share with it or how to share it or if it was supposed to be a blackout. they can't of didn't know what to do.
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but in france they were sharing it with the family, vetting rumors that -- advising families, there is not anything to that but that one is good, you know. at the same time, they were making sure the public did not forget that these people were missing and had been kidnapped. so they would tv -- the tv would have by spalines every night, h long have they been missing. they had pictures in town hall in france. so they caused a huge reaction in public. and the third thing they did was they had high level access to the government. so they were able to share rumors that they felt had some validity. so i was jealous. i just came home and i thought oh, i mean -- we needed some help. we were all alone. jim being a freelancer, didn't
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have anyone behind him. we had a couple of good people that stepped up. >> i think this raises a number of issues. number one, in france, and in spain, journalists are valued. they are almost heroes, or if not heroes. and why is that? well they have courage and they bring truth to -- back home so the french and spanish citizens know what is going on in the world and can make proper assessments of how they feel about this or that. it also made us think that what could be done with this -- if this were happening in the united states? our assessment is the concrete is issue. there are many, many journalists, freelance or otherwise. and what we saw, they see on a regular basis. we're a hot item when it is a
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fresh story but after the story dissipat dissipates, you couldn't hatcata cold. we think in order for journalism to go to the next level in this country, journalists have to respect themselves and organize in a way that they are willing to help one another. and so i think that is part of the way that freelance and other journalists can protect one another, sharing information, assessing risk and really pushing the powers that be to make change, to get these people home. one of the things that i regret most is that darn media silence. because we didn't have the ability -- we gave up the ability to force. and obviously we're a democracy and those count. pressure counts. and we didn't apply enough pressure.
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and the only pressure that was meaningful was associated with an organized -- media, who wanted to get accomplished something good for one of their own. >> thanks, john. >> let me ask a question for everybody who has taken the trouble to come here and paying rapt attention. let's take a great leap and assume this is a representative democracy with people spending as much time looking at the constitution as the super bowl lineup or the oscar list and the people we elect to represent what we want and the people in washington, that occupy those offices, respond as citizens. i don't mean to be too cynical to a reporter, but that really how it is. this is our country. and therefore what is it -- and let's go down the line starting with terry, and so what is it people -- citizens -- can do to
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make this better. >> understand what we can do. understand the process and what reporters are out there for and what their purpose is. and respect what it is we do. most of you who are not involved in journalism really don't understand how journalism works. you don't understand how we gather information, how we vet information. how we choose our stories. how we write them. how we edit them. you don't know the process. it is a pretty rigorous process. but the stuff you see in the media, certainly in main line news organizations, is pretty damn reliable. most of the reporters i know are doing it not for certainly the money or the fame or the thrill, even though who go out into
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danger repeatedly, they are not there for the adrenalin rush, they are there because they really, truly believe that it is important. that it is important for them to find and tell the truth as best they can about what is happening in the world. and that you need to know those things. and that is why they go into places like syria or other danger places. um, more and more -- you know journalism has been changing drastically. we all know that. more and more the people who do that are independent journalists. fewer and fewer are main-line, regular correspondents with an organization behind them. thankfully "the new york times" maintains a large and brilliant stable of foreign correspondents. the a.p., but that is about it.
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everybody else is an independent journalist. and that makes it more dangerous for them. they can only earn what they get paid, and the pay levels are pretty miserable. they don't have the money to buy a $600 flack jacket or take a $3,000 personal safety course. and they don't have anybody when they get in trouble, as i did, to spend seven years trying to get you out. they are out there by themselves. i am encouraged by our industry's move to accept the moral responsibility for the independent journalists that they buy stories from. >> thank you for that terry. there are two things before i move to david.
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one is a group of organizations kind of spearheaded by david rode, who he has spoken about several times, has put together a list of things that journalists ought to know before they get out there and things we ought to know back home. and one of those -- a main one among them is news organizations who use the services of journalists should be responsible for them. the second thing i wanted to say is they'll be questions. and so we would like you, if you wouldn't mind. write them down. we have some forms and kind volunteers running around and helping. so if you have a question and write it down and it comes up, we'll have plenty of time for that. sorry. thank you, david. >> yeah. let me say two things. one is, joel simon, who is a friend of everybody up here, recent sli wrote a new book about the issues called the new
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censorship. and the important thing about that, that is what this is. this is censorship. this is a civil rights and human rights issue. this is not only about journalists being killed or kidnapped and harmed, it is about you and all of us not getting information we're entitled to because censorship is not about the speaker's right, it is about the listeners' right to receive a message. we have to think about it that way. when we think about great civil rights struggles, we need to raise awareness and bring lawsuits and stop impunity in places where the lawsuits will work. the suits become a beacon to show people it is wrong for governments to turn their back on their own journalists. and so awareness is the first piece that is really important and think about it as your right to receive information, your right to know what is going on,
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not merely our right to publish it. the second thing, and this goes to the great work that the foleys are doing, is that -- and doug tails with what terry is saying there needs to be better resources for independent journalists. and if you think about the whole process, go in, get a story and come back and face harm and all of that, it is throughout the process they need resources. and the training they receive in the kit they carry, in their response, if they run into a problem, that is an obligation that we all should share in. it starts with organizations like my own, which feels very strongly that freelance journalists who are working for us should be treated the same way as our own employees. but it also is broader than that. because more and more, as terry was saying, all of us are going to be depending on independent
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journalists willing to take risk not supported by formal structures or established organizations. and those people need resources to make sure that they are trained, to make sure that they have resources in place to support them while they are out getting stories and if they run into trouble, that they have resources and organizations to help them. >> thank you. which leads us to diane and john's message -- i don't mean to speak for them, but i happen to know the main thrust of it which is that correspondents at one point, we are really our own family out there. as david has said, as terry has said, that is not really the case any more. even if we have real jobs. so our own families are our own families and our friends and the structures that we have back home. and so diane and john, tell us about your -- answering the
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question, what can be done and people do, but talk about the foundation. because one of the first things that struck me in their -- the word is grief, thinking about everybody else and about putting together a foundation in jim's name and honor to help other families and to help people who -- who don't have that kind of strength or even those who do. but -- >> well i certainly agree very much with everything you've said. certainly the raising of awareness, as person citizens, we need to be aware of what is being taken from us when these journalists are killed. and thus, don't want to go to those areas. and the other thing is this -- the whole issue of more and more freelancers in dangerous parts of the world.
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because of how journalism has changed. and there are many independent freelance journalists now. and many -- thankfully there are good companies like the times that really takes seriously their relationship with freelancers. but there are far more that do not at all. and could care less, you know. and therefore one of the things jim's foundation is trying to do is certainly to work with the -- the groups that exist, like committee to protect journalists, reporters without borders and other organizations to help freelancers commit to safety pras ises they can do -- practices they can do and to call on news organizations to, in fact, protect them if they are going to take stories from them and such. along that area, jim believed in a free press. he was passionate about it.
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and therefore we also were trying to call on the american media to find ways that they can collaborate. such as what was done recently at columbia university when several groups came together in a tiny step but still a beginning step that i believe was handed out, as you came out, the guidelines that were -- that was just a small step. but the historic part of it was that we had people who are normally competitors, various news organizations, signed on together. and in that way, that was wonderful. it was very exciting. so we hope through the foundation to promote more of that. plus working with advocating for american hostages and their families. >> talk about the risk assessment. >> well, yeah. there are many issues obviously with freelancers. one of them is -- at columbia we
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were talking with folks at the dart center. that is something not as expensive of a course as some of the survival courses that run in the change like terry was saying $3,000. but more of an ability for the independent journalists to learn how to assess risk. which many organizations can do for them, but when you are out on your own, you are on your own and it is hard. >> we became very much involved with an organization called -- are very much involved with a organization called hostage u.k. it is a nongovernmental organization built and designed to support hostage families and returned hostages. they are able to link to the government, help share information with families, but more importantly, they can walk families through this whole process. when jim was captured, our first
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response was where do we go next? well, if you have a group of people who have been through all of this, you don't have to go through all of the ojt that diane did, going back and forth to new york. we can pair people with what -- we call them responders. rachel briggs, who is the director of the hostage u.k. is planning to come to the united states for a year and help us set this organization up. and one of the goals of the fund is to support that financially. and it won't be a simple deal. but we think that when that, in fact, happens, we'll have such a better support mechanism for families in great distress, obviously. and we're looking forward to moving down that line -- that direction. >> thanks. david, just let me go back for one second into this ransom business because of the business
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of whether or not to pay ransom. the u.s. government's position is this funds the bad guys. this sets a bad precedent. this does -- various reasons. but in fact, if you are talking about the money, compared to what we've kind of gave them by leaving behind all of the stuff we paid for in iraq and everywhere else, i mean ransom is a drop in the bucket, one. and two, it is not very consistent. and every so often there will be an exchange for a guy in afghanistan. so what about ransoms? >> i'm in the fortunate position never having had to decide. david rode escaped and steve feral and salta manatee, our journalists captured in 2009 were the subject of a british raid to take them from the
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taliban. steve is a u.k. citizen and steve was rescued and sultan was killed in the raid. and that is pretty much the story with military raids. they are very, very lethal, many times to the person to be rescued. i don't think there is an easy answer on ransom. and the new york times has never had a policy about that. i think it would have been fortunate to not have to face that. but when i think about it as an individual, and talking to a lot of families, over the last six or seven years who have been involved in these situations, it seems to me that the idea that somehow paying ransom encouraged journalists to take more risk is flawed. i don't think anybody wants to be kidnapped and i don't think french journalists go out thinking i can do what i want because my government will pay a ransom for me.
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i am skeptical of the idea that not paying ransom deterred kidnappers and created a disincentive. the theory is that kidnappers will not take americans or brits because those countries don't technically allow ransom. i just don't think they think of it that way. i think they take westerners and sort out the citizenship later. the hard issue is what mort mentioned, the funding and how the money is used. and i think that you would always want to avoid paying if you could, but i also know that if it was my son, just as you feel about your children, you would find a way. and it is very hard to make that into a public policy statement and, know, this is bad for the future of my country in some hypothetical theoretical way but the point i would come back to
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that mort raised, i'm not sure we are sending a consistent message to the terrorists an the kidnappers -- there was an exchange of prisoners for private bergdahl. there was an american-german citizen in somalia for whom a ransom was paid an the united states looked the other way. that was, i think, last year. >> uh-huh. >> and there was ransom paid in the philippines which didn't work out in 2002. those people didn't make it out. and again they were u.s. citizens. so the lack of consistency undercuts that we are drying a hard line. an the last thing i will say on this and others can jump in because they know it better than i do. i think the idea of telling families they shouldn't even talk to the hostage-takers is really, really bad advice.
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that it is advice that runs counter every interest -- getting intelligence, humanizing the victim, developing a relationship and in hopes something will happen, buying time, all good things, if you don't talk to them, those things don't happen. >> and that is what one -- that is what we wanted, was just our intelligence and fbi to negotiate, to talk to them. find out what they wanted. we were left as families to negotiate. we didn't know what we were doing. we had no idea. and we were on our own. and we can do better than that. we've got incredible resources, you know. and it was -- they didn't want to talk to them. and i think -- i know that we really feel that angered the captors big-time. and you know, just made
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everything worse. because they did reach out to us twice. trying to negotiate with us. but they wanted to negotiate with our government, not with the foleys. they knew we really couldn't help. >> yeah. i think that that is really the case. i forgot what i was going to say. >> it's okay. >> oh, i know. so the legal aspect of this whole thing is as follows: diane and i got the opinion of several excellent lawyers in washington and our questions to them were what happened if we tried to rescue our son through the ransom process. an the answers were interesting. the justice department has never pros kutsed a family under duress trying to bring their loved one home, never.
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and number two, the fbi said we'll help you negotiate. they weren't any help. they told us to write friendly little letters to describe jim and how much we missed him and et cetera. but as diane pointed out, this just angered his captors because in france or in the other countries, those ransom notes went through the family, through the fbi to the government. so i think they assumed that the same was going to happen here, which, in fact, it didn't. so again, another disconnect. another disconnect. if you are going to be helped. let's get help. if you are not -- >> that is what would have been helpful, to know. be clear. if the government wasn't going to help us, tell us, you know. >> in the beginning. >> in the beginning, that we cannot do this for you. we can't.
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you know, and be honest about what they were able to do and what they were willing to do. but unfortunately, that was just not the case. >> at the very least, we can delegate somebody from the government to be a liaison, like don't the brits do that? >> oh, yeah. they have a special cases unit. and france has the hostage crisis unit. we don't. >> let's take questions from the floor. how are we organizing that, bill? oh, nancy, right. >> if i -- while we're doing that, let me jump in here because john and diane put their finger on two things here. one is the government's willingness to negotiate, but if they are not going to do that, why there is a need for support so that the families that are left to do this have appropriate
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support, training and assistance. when our people were taken in libya and this is again showing the difference between having a major organization behind us. i have a coach who sits in the office with me while i talk to the libyans and the state department and the families. and it is just like having an executive coach. when i hang up. he says here is what you did that was really good and not so hot but tomorrow we're going to do better and it makes a huge difference to have somebody with expertise in doing that. if you are going to be left to do it yourself, you need that support. so it is both of that. getting the government engaged and also providing appropriate assistance to the family. >> terry? >> i think there should be a difference -- a room between we're not going to pay ransom as a government, and we're not going to talk to anybody,
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including the families, and certainly we're not going to talk to the kidnappers. i think the government's interpretation that we're not going to negotiate with kidnappers meaning we're not going to talk to anybody is a cop nifout and a cover-up and allows them to do nothing without paying a penalty. that is what they want. that is what i think the advice to families, the consistent advice to families not to go public or make a fuss, is designed for. that may be cynical, but that is what i believe. i'm hoping that the current review of the government's hostage policy is going to find some space there that will allow them to do some of the things that mr. and mrs. foley have suggested that will allow them to help families and that will allow some kind of contact to go
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on. as i said before, if it is a bank hostage situation, the first thing you do is bring in a negotiator. doesn't mean they will pay anything or give the guys an airplane, it means they are going to talk to see if there is some way to resolve this. we have never seen if there is some way to resolve the problem with the islamic state because we haven't tried. we don't know if there is any room on their part because we haven't tried. and i think that is -- that is a serious mistake and a moral failing on the part of the government. >> a moral failing. absolutely. >> let me just -- one point here, which i think highlights the problem. our people, that is "the new york times" people, in turkey and who were covering syria, were getting information about
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the kidnappings, just in the normal course of reporting. and we, as a policy, were collecting that and the reporters were giving it to me and i was passing it on to the families. and whichever family it was relevant to. and it is a really strange thing because i didn't feel i could go to the fbi and didn't want to go to the fbi because i didn't think it would get to the families quite frankly. but when i went directly to the families, thiey, many times, ar happy to have it but what are they going to do with the information, that lack of support, once you get it, now how do you operate on it? whether it is someone who is saying i know how to make contact with the kidnappers or whether it is information about where people are being held or anything like that. so we passed it on to the families. but there was always this empty feeling that it was going to not be effectively worked on because of the failure of the government to assist.
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>> i think just -- i think that is the success of the british philosophy in terms of having two diplomats who are totally dedicated to helping hostage families understand what is going on. they don't pay ransom either. their results are similar to ours. up to this point. but at least families such as ours would have confidence in their effort. would have confidence in the fact that they're working to get information and that there was a plan. so i agree with david. >> thanks a lot. i have the envelope. now i get to do my matthew mcconaughey as long as i don't have to drive a lincoln. here's the question on top. what happens when you guys talk to your congressional representatives who are really
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your voice? >> do you want the honest answer? >> yeah, honest answer. >> nothing. >> nothing. >> nothing. >> we didn't -- no, we never talked to our congressmen. they never reached out to us at all. our two senators did many times. you know, actually senator shaheen really got us -- helped us get into the u.n., helped us get into the state department. helped us, you know, know who to talk to. so in the beginning she was quite helpful in that regard. and -- but that's about it. >> but everybody we talked to patronized us. there was no real -- i don't think there was a real commitment to bring jim home. everyone wanted him home, but nobody was ready to dig in and do the work to get him home. i think senator shaheen was wonderful, but i think they're impotent. they really can't drive the
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state department and/or the executive office to do what needs to be done. >> at one point we went to talk to senator mccain, the four families. we all went together to talk to him. he was good to give us an audience and such. but you know, nothing came of it. >> two questions that are similar here. i'll just divide them. one, what was jim's biggest goal as a journalist? how do you want to keep his legacy alive, we'll explain that. what would you say to the parents whose children want to be reporters and go out and do this? and how would you like jim to be remembered? >> well, jim was very interested as he said in the human rights side. jim was very concerned about the people who had no voice. as are most journalists to be honest. but ones who really are passionate about giving a voice to the people they talk to. so one of our biggest deals is
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to continue that. so part of it is, you know, american hostages don't have a voice. a lot of freelancers don't. a lot of poor kids in inner cities, so those are three areas that jim cared a lot about, that we're trying, you know, god willing to give more of a voice to. >> thanks. okay. here's a question i will resist answering myself and having a stroke. it's for terry and david. why is it worth the risk and cost for journalists to go into inherently dangerous places? is the news and information obtained quantitatively better than may be obtained by other means and if so, why? >> all yours, terry. >> hold me back. >> let me step back -- the question about what do you say to your children who want to do this?
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what did i say to my daughter when she called me up and said, dad, i don't want to be an actress anymore, i want to be a journalist. i worry about her. she does things that are risky. she doesn't cover active war, but she does go into places that are dangerous. what do i tell her? i tell her pretty much the same thing i tell my students. if this is really what you want to do, if you really think this is important enough, then make sure that you're ready for it. make sure you're prepared for it. make sure you know how to deal -- how to assess and how to deal with danger. it's really hard to play the professor with your daughter, by the way. it's very hard. but she does listen and we talk a lot about the things that she's doing. and she recognizes that, you
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know, i have a lot of experience in this. and i have been there. and she accepts some things and other things she tells me, oh, dad. but -- >> terry, could you have covered beirut from cairo or -- >> absolutely not. look, the question is do you want this information? you guys. do you think you need this, to know about what's happening in the world? okay. i think that it's important. i think you need to know it. and i think it's important enough that i have in fact risked my life to cover stories that i thought were important enough. now, i -- there are always as i said before, there are always considered risks. i'm not a fool. i know that if i die, i'm not going to be able to file a story anyway. i need -- and the process is
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every step of the way. not just when i sit in my office and i say i'm going to go do this, but when i get in the car, when i get there, and i get out of the car, every step of the way i'm weighing is this worth it? if i'm going to go from here to there, and there's a chance somebody is going to shoot at me on the way, i damn well better believe there's something important enough for me over there that i need to do it. and that's the way journalists operate. they're not stupid. it is a risky profession, so is being a policeman. so is being a firefighter. there are risky professions in the world and there are people who do them because they think it's important enough to take the risks. i am passionate about the importance of journalists and journalism and the principles and the role that we play in any democratic system or free society.
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we are central. you can't have a free society without a free press. >> thanks, terry. >> here's one that follows right into this and i think i'm going to answer a bit of it myself. i -- the question here is why is there such resistance to common sense practice of getting training and going armed? you know where you are here. this came up during iraq. i mean, with dexter. you know, some of "the new york times" people and some of the others who are saying, well, you know, that was a different situation and i didn't do much in iraq so i can't really answer. but i can tell you that, you know, i have been a correspondent for 131 years and i have never -- i did grow up, i can handle a gun, not very well. i don't really own one, but i can do it. but i never ever come across a situation that i could shoot my way out of. as a correspondent. i'll tell you another thing, i
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come across a lot of situations had i been packing i wouldn't be here tonight. >> absolutely. look, i'm -- i spent six years in the marine corps. i'm a vietnam combat vet so i know something about small arms. i have never, never believed that i ever could have used a gun to get me out of any trouble at all. and i know perfectly well if i had had a gun and tried to use it when i was kidnapped i would be dead. i'll tell you what, even seven years in prison is a little better than that. the only real protection we have in the field is the belief by the people we're talking to that we are not part of the conflict. >> exactly. >> when you pack a gun, you are part of the conflict. and it will get you killed dead. >> this is another problem by the way that's really important and perhaps we should talk about this. you know, a lot of people think that, you know, reporters, you
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know, well, they're out there for the fun of it. i ain't fun. but, you know, i mean, there are thrill seekers out there. we run across some real crazies, that makes the idea of soldier adventure, journalist, all that right now. and the problem as we have been talking all night, people going out there are -- they're young people with a lot of courage and a little bit of backing and a lot of drive and training. i mean, you know, some. but they need more. we really need to -- i mean, journalism is an education now, this is not a pitch, but a reality. kids need to be prepared when they go out. for so many reasons. because we don't -- you know, it used to be -- the way it would work, you'd find, you know, some old guy who had been out for a long time. and then you'd be adding, you
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know, fresh energy and the new tools and the tools always change. you know, you'd be having -- but the old guy or woman, i say guy, but actually so many women out there as men now, but, you know, learn things the hard way. there's a lot of things in this profession you can only learn by making mistakes. and you don't want people -- anyway. anybody want to comment on that? or should i shut up and ask the next? >> remember by the way that the people -- not many of the people going out there have any experience in these situations. you know? how many -- how many combat vets do you have that you know who are journalists? who have served in iraq or afghanistan? there are a couple. but there aren't very many. >> terry, here's an interesting question. if you're a person of color from the u.s., do you think the survival of captivity is greater? >> i don't think that has any relevance at all.
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particularly in -- when you're talking about the islamic world which has a much more -- a much better approach to people of color than we often do. and i don't think it makes any difference whether you're a christian or a muslim. it's not a religious question. these people don't think in those terms. >> john, did you want to speak? >> yeah, i wanted to go back to the previous question and certainly, terry, i would welcome your comment. but i think if there was not so much competitive nature to some of these, you know, -- to get the rights -- to get the story, to get it first, et cetera, i think young, freelance journalists would be more willing to spend some time, you know, figuring out how safe is this? should we be doing this? should we be in groups? and can we use some of the older
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as you put it old people as mentors? i think mentoring is -- >> i like to say old crocodiles. >> i think mentoring can be very effective. >> yeah. >> i have to say though, as a once very aggressive and competitive young journalist for the a.p., there is a surprising amount of cooperation among foreign correspondents. the competition generally restricted to certain situations when you have a story to yourself and you don't want anybody else to get it or you're first on the scene. most of the time, international journalists know that they are better off helping each other and they do that quite frequently and i advise my young students when they go to a country, the first thing they need do is check in with press corps. go to the a.p. office, talk to people who had been there.
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they'll cooperate. they'll help you. of course if you're directly competing on a story, they may -- you know, they may slit your car tires. but there's -- it's surprising that foreign journalists in dicey areas are pretty cooperative. >> all the imtoo. -- all the time. at the risk of boring my students who have heard this, i'll use this analogy in tucson. a press corps works like a pack of coyotes and everybody in this room knows how coyotes work. you know, one of them gets out ahead and kind of spots the prey and figures it out. takes the first bite and all the rest kind of swarm around and everybody and -- by the time it's done, everybody is picked clean. today, because of the way the system works and has to work, we're out there working like hyenas. you know? those are metaphors to the people involved, that's just the
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way that things work. one kind of grabs what one can, because one has to make a living by selling stuff and in various different directions, kind of pulls it off in the corner and thank yous on -- gnaws on the bones and all the rest, all of you, we don't get, you know, the effect of reporters being out there. this something that we -- in answer to the one question about well, why can't we do it at long distance or why can't we guess at the news or let bill o'reilly tell us what happened, this is something about foreign correspondents that we just all have to understand and we have to understand it down to our toenails. if they're not there, we're not there. and how in the hell are you going to run a worlded? >> picture yourself at the top of mount lebanon and deciding to come down in a snowstorm with your eyes closed. at some point, you just don't
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know what will happen. we need foreign correspondents out there. the ones we have are some brave young people like jim foley. we have some people working for news organizations, "the new york times" for all we criticize it sometimes god bless it, still has people out there and keeps them out there. some other newspapers still do. a.p., i criticize often, but again, they have people out there. there are ways to find out. we really have to, you know, we can't really expect people to -- i'm giving a speech. okay. yeah, terry, it says there was a report, i haven't seen the report. you read 300 to 400 books a year -- >> my life. >> you read a book a day, i didn't know that. >> what did you read?
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can you name all the books you read in 1979? >> a remember a lot of them. i can remember the books -- they used to bring us books believe it or not, in boxes. used paper back, i had no idea where they got them. they'd bring a box of books and it could be anything. >> good lord, anderson, get a life. >> french mysteries, crime novelties. french crime novels. i remember once -- one of the few i didn't read was "how to breast-feed your baby." [ laughter ] well, i thought, you know, that would be a little cooperation on that. >> all right. >> the only books -- the only books we ever turned back to them were barbara cartland novels. [ laughter ] >> okay. the oscar music is going up here now. diane, john, can you tell us some more about the foundation and what you hope to accomplish and what you need. >> well, i guess the reason we started it is because we just
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don't want jim to have died in vain. jim was a very optimistic person. he really -- he would have wanted something good to come out of this horrific experience. he just would. i just feel that so strongly. and we do as parents. so we're just trying to look at some of the areas where there are gaps. one of them seems to be certainly the -- there's no one advocating for american hostages in our country that we encountered. let's put it that way. we did meet some good people, but no organizations if you will. so that is one of our priorities. particularly now with the hostage review. we're trying to, you know, partner with hostage u.k., see if we can't learn from them and adapt it somehow to our count


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