Paul Martin Lester
Professors of Communications,
California State University, Fullerton
(E-mail and webpage)
The Wars with Iraq, 1991 and 2003 offer researchers a unique opportunity to study differences in the visual coverage between media pools and embedded journalists. While the media pool system used in 1991 was criticized for restricting journalists and their stories too severely, the 2003 embedded journalists, although faced with restrictions as well, gave many more journalists much closer access to the fighting. Consequently, one would expect to see differences in the printed reports between the two wars.
Termed "Desert Storm" by the military and the "Persian Gulf War" by the media, the clash with Iraq over Kuwait in 1991 was an example of the often-tenuous relationship between government officials and journalists. Hundreds of journalists from news organizations throughout the world covered the front from Saudi Arabia, but only about 100 were chosen to make up the official military press pool, with less than 20 allowed to accompany military officials at any one time.
Pulitzer Prize reporter Malcolm W. Brown explained, "The war-coverage system in the Persian Gulf, worked out by the Pentagon and representatives of major American news organizations last summer, has antecedents that date from the brief Grenada war of 1983, which reporters were barred from covering. Their employers objected so strongly that the Pentagon convened a commission headed by Maj. Gen. Winant Sidle, retired chief of Army information, and made up mainly of military and Government public-affairs officials. It recommended that future wars be covered by pools of news representatives-selected, controlled and censored by the military."1
With more than 500,000 American troops in the 1991 Gulf War and fighting erupting on several fronts, newspapers, for example, relied on only one pool of 16 journalists to cover every ground unit. Although most reporters accepted the fact that a pool was necessary, many were frustrated by the military's slowness in transporting pool members to troubled areas. Once there, an ever-present military escort accompanied journalists.
Department of Defense ground rules signed by all journalists prohibited reporting that would in any way endanger the troops. A journalist needed military approval before attempting any story. Once the piece was completed, the story and pictures were subject to U.S. and allied military censorship. Although there was no stated prohibition against showing wounded or killed soldiers, photographers "were carefully monitored on the battlefield in an effort to prevent images of bodies or the wounded from reaching the public. The concern was that seeing such pictures might dissuade Americans from supporting the war."2 Claiming that press pool restrictions were too harsh, nine U.S. publications and novelists asked for a federal court injunction against the Defense Department's pool procedures. Later, a Federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.3
The "War with Iraq" in 2003 would prove to be different for journalists and the military. Instead of a tiny pool of reporters covering the war, more than 500 "embedded" journalists, those sanctioned and trained by military officials, rode along with coalition combat units. Sherry Ricchiardi in American Journalism Review wrote, "The media had unprecedented access to America's fighting forces. And despite initial skepticism about how well the system would work, and some dead-on criticism of overly enthusiastic reporting in the war's early stages, the net result was a far more complete mosaic of the fighting-replete with heroism, tragedy and human error-than would have been possible without it."4 Furthermore, in a content analysis of television news coverage, a report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism concluded that "Americans seem far better served by having the embedding system than they were from more limited press pools during the Gulf War of 1991."5
David Shaw, media critic writer for the Los Angeles Times, noted two popular criticisms of the military program, "One is that the more than 500 reporters hunkered down with soldiers will inevitably focus on the small picture, rather than the big picture; they'll cover the individual battles their units engage in and the human-interest stories of individual soldiers, instead of giving their readers and viewers an overall account of the war. The other complaint is that embedded reporters are not just embedded but-inevitably-in bed with the military. Embedded journalists, according to this argument, become so dependent on their military partners for their stories and their safety that they come to identify with the soldiers, thus abandoning their professional detachment and allowing themselves to be co-opted into reporting more favorably-and less skeptically-than the facts may warrant.6
However, Shaw was no critic of embedding. He saw editors back home and far away from military escorts as a protection from unbalanced reporting. "Editors and news directors thousands of miles from Iraq, who don't have that same sense of dependency," Shaw writes, "have a professional obligation to evaluate and decide when, how and whether to use the stories and pictures their embedded reporters and photographers send them." Shaw puts a positive spin on the embedding program and concludes, "Embedding is giving us a rare window on war. The critics should stop carping."7 As one media critic explained, "The U.S. military has generated a bounty of positive coverage of the Iraq invasion, one that decades of spinning, bobbing, and weaving at rear-echelon briefings could never achieve."8
Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke agreed at a forum presented by the Brookings Institution. She said, "I am quite confident people feel so good about this process [embedding] that you'll see more people in the military embracing it."9 Journalists at the forum said they liked the arrangement because it gave them access to the front lines they otherwise might have lacked. "It broadened the lens on the battlefield," said Terence Smith, media correspondent for PBS' "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."10
William M. Arkin, a military affairs analyst, praised the images and stories from embedded journalists. They "did not shy away from reporting things that the U.S. military was doing its best to ignore. Most notably," Arkin wrote, "Iraqi casualties. Fearful of public reaction, senior U.S. officials in the region and in Washington steadfastly refused to discuss how many Iraqi soldiers and others were dying as a result of the coalition's overwhelming firepower. Not so the embeds."11
Many criticized the embedding program. One of the harshest critics came from one of the military's own. Anthony Swofford author of Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles writes, "Embeds serve up burly-chested kids full of charisma and grit; television reports soften war and allow it to penetrate even deeper into the living rooms and minds of America. War can't be that bad if they let us watch it. This is the danger of the embed."12
There were also many "unilateral" journalists, those not embedded and on their own, mostly within Baghdad. Photojournalist Greg Mathieson for the MAI Photo News Agency, Washington, D.C. summed up the differences in access and censorship between the two wars:
"I covered both wars. The first time in the 'DOD (Department of Defense) Combat Correspondents Pool' and most recently free of the embeds wandering the battlefields and around Iraq freely. In 1990/91 our photos were edited and watched over by DOD reps in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. [For example,] I had a shot I made from a helicopter of the first US battle against the Iraqis on a very small island. The Marines had just blown up a storage bunker on the island as Iraqi gunboats were approaching. The mushroom cloud was of course bigger then the island, so DOD killed the photo thinking that people would think they used nuclear weapons.
"Shots of dead and wounded were off limits and you really never got close enough to see any. If you look for images of the supposed tens of thousands of Iraqis killed in the trenches early on, you won't find anything, unless some GI took a shot.
"This time  you had a whole country and numerous cities and villages to cover with many more staying in Baghdad throughout the war, having a better feeling about how the Iraqis would treat us."13
By being closer to the fighting and freer during the War with Iraq, journalists should have been able to witness, report, and photograph more of the brutal aspects of war on soldiers and civilians without governmental restrictions and those images should be presented to readers within the pages of their newspapers.
Because pictures often affect a viewer emotionally more than words alone do, pictorial displays often have the weight of established facts. Researcher Ted Spiker wrote, "The images in the news can stir emotions and foster public outcry like no other means of expression. Photographs in news reports, even those that are descriptive, are 'more than dˇcor.' While journalists tend to think more about page-design criteria or the news in the story than about the impact of the photo, the impact of the story is more often determined by the photograph than the story itself." Spiker added, "[B]y choosing to use and choosing how to use photographs, photographers and editors can implicitly and explicitly add and direct meaning to a photograph. For wartime photographs in particular, that's especially true."14 It is important to consider not only the content of specific images, but also the way they were presented on the page.
Although there are many speculations on the impact that pool versus embedded photographers may have had on war coverage, most evidence remains anecdotal in nature. Theory does suggest, however, that the nuances of journalistic practices can significantly influence the way news coverage is framed and interpreted. Although first discussed over 25 years ago, media frame theory has only recently been employed by scholars to help explain the field of mass media communications from both sides of the lens or reporter's pad-that is, the theory concentrates on journalists, their messages, and their audience.15 Todd Gitlin, one of the first proponents of the theory in 1980 wrote "[M]edia frames, largely unspoken and unacknowledged, organize the world both for journalists who report it and, in some important degree, for us who rely on their reports."16 The "frame" of media gathering and packaging is in conjunction with a reader's "frame" of how she has learned about the world through previous media reports. Because of experience with media communications, readers derive a set of expectations about story topics that help them make sense of their world. Sayre and King have written that consequently, "mass media influence us to believe in a dramatic structure that drives the conflicts and resolutions of our private and public lives."17
In influencing the way issues are "framed," journalists and their practices are also influencing the way issues are understood by their audiences. When a story's conflict is presented through dramatic images from a war, "Frames make those messages memorable and understandable."18 Ross notes that frames "employed by journalists are durable reflections of internalized professional values and social norms." 19 She further discusses the factors that lead to the inevitability of conflict reporting, "Print deadlines, story form, journalistic routines, and editing create structural constraints that lend themselves to certain frames of reality. News values dictate that conflict and violence warrant attention; happy coexistence does not."20 Framing theory, thus, suggests that differences in pooled versus embedded journalistic practices could significantly influence the way each war was framed. Framing theory further suggests that understanding the nature of these frames is essential to our understanding of the issues themselves.
Given the controversy over pool versus embedded journalism coverage, it is difficult to make clear predictions for the impact these differences may have on photographic news images. If journalists were offered more access to fighting areas during the War with Iraq than the Persian Gulf War, we might anticipate more close-up images from actual battlefield scenes by staff photographers published during the most recent conflict. However, if some critics are correct, embedding practices might encourage journalists to frame the war more sympathetically through less graphic images. Differences in photographic coverage might be seen not only in image origin and content, but also in resulting editorial decisions regarding picture placement and size. According to framing theory, each of these factors could result in different pictures, both literally and figuratively, of each war. Therefore, this investigation
attempts to answer the general research question: Was there a quantitative and qualitative difference between what and how visual messages were published for the first week of fighting between the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and the War with Iraq of 2003?
To explore the research question, a content analysis was performed on photographs from the Persian Gulf War, 1991 and the War with Iraq, 2003. The content analysis was performed for all photographs from the Persian Gulf War, 1991 and the War with Iraq, 2003 for two time periods coinciding with the start of the ground war for each conflict and proceeding for an entire week of issues for three newspapers: The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. For the Persian Gulf War, the allied air attack commenced on January 17, 1991, the ground attack on February 24, and a ceasefire was called on February 28. The War with Iraq was much different as the air attack began on March 19, 2003 with the ground attack starting the next day. On April 9, the U.S. military claimed that Baghdad fell to allied troops. For the Persian Gulf War, all issues from February 25 until March 3, 1991 were selected. For the War with Iraq, all issues from March 21 until March 27, 2003 were selected. The entire coverage for the two wars was impossible to obtain since as of this writing the War with Iraq is still proceeding.
Each newspaper's national edition on microfilm was studied. The newspapers were selected because of their national and international coverage scope, their reputation as leaders within the journalism community, and their geographical diversity. The dates were selected because the content of the coverage between the two time periods would be similar. For example, the New York Times headline for February 26, 1991 was "VAST ARMADA OF U.S. TANKS ROLLS INTO IRAQ " while the March 21, 2003 in the Los Angeles Times read "U.S. FORCES ENTER IRAQ."
The unit of analysis was the photograph. All of the pictures studied were coded for a newspaper (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times), each day of the battle commencing from the coverage of the ground action and continuing for a week for the years 1991 and 2003, and six characteristics including content and graphic elements.
Each photograph was assigned to one of ten content categories as follows:
* Fighting scenes (either direct or indirect contact with the enemy within the theater of operation such as soldiers advancing, engaged in combat activities, and destroyed vehicles or buildings),
* Deceased soldiers (bodies abandoned, shown with other living persons, or being transported by members from either side of the conflict),
* Injured soldiers (wounded on the battlefield or receiving treatment in a hospital),
* Battlefield scenes (general images of soldiers and locations not related to actual fighting such as preparing for battle, riding or flying in military equipment, and resting),
* Prisoners (images of those captured on the battlefield or within secured compounds regardless of side),
* Civilians (any persons living within the theater of operation and not connected with the military),
* Homefront subjects (people and activities related to allied civilians, except protestors),
* Protestors (any persons or activities from any country that disagree with the war effort),
* Portraits (any formal head and shoulders "mug" shot), and
* Miscellaneous (any other images not covered by the above categories such as pictures of journalists and historical photographs).
Graphic elements were assigned for each picture and included:
* Source (coded as either staff photographer, pool photograph, miscellaneous including wire services and freelancers, or not credited),
* Page selection (coded as frontpage, inside the front section, the "B" or second section, or any other sections),
* Page placement (coded into three categories with the majority of the image placed on the top third, middle third, or lower third of each page),
* Photographic perspective21 (coded as close, in which a viewer appeared to be within 2 yards of the primary source, middle, the viewer appeared to between 2 and 10 yards from the source, or far, in which the viewer appeared to be greater than 10 yards from the source), and
* Size (coded into four categories as less than 10, 10 - 30, 31 - 50, or over 50 square inches).
A primary coder examined 42 issues for the two time periods and found 1,023 war-related pictures. To establish intercoder reliability, a second coder analyzed 750 of the photographs. Overall, the data reflected an intercoder reliability of 96% based on Holsti's formula. Reliability estimates for each category were calculated by Scott's pi as follows: newspaper, 100 %; content, 93%; source, 100%, page selection, 97%; page placement, 95%; photographic perspective, 89%; and size, 97%.
As Table 1 indicates, the number of photographs published in all categories increased dramatically from 1991 to 2003. For 1991 a total of 317 images, or 31% were found, while 706 images, or 69% were found for the same period during the 2003 conflict. Chi Square analysis revealed significant differences in content categories, (9, N=1023) = 31.70, p < .001. As a percentage, there were more fighting scenes in 2003 (15.4%) compared to 1991 (10.1%). Notably, there were also more protestor shots in 2003. In 1991 there were proportionately more battlefield scenes, prisoners, and civilian shots as well as more portraits. Counts for deceased soldiers, injured soldiers and miscellaneous pictures for both years were about the same, within 1% of each other. Overall, there were more pictures from the actual areas of battle (content categories 1 - 6), in terms of raw numbers during 2003 (404) than in 1991 (188), but the total percentage for those categories was almost identical: 59.3% in 1991 and 57.2% in 2003. Slightly more non-battlefield image categories (7 - 10) were published in 2003 (42.6%) than in 1991 (40.7%), but the difference was not significant, (1, N=1023) = .338, p < .561.
There were significant differences directly related to the main focus of this study, e.g., the source of the published photographs. The use of staff photographers increased overall from 16.1% in 1991 to 36.7% in 2003 while the use of pool photographers decreased from 8.2% to 1.6% with other sources and images not credited showing similar percentages, (3, N=1023) = 65.99, p < .001.22 More importantly, Table 2 reveals that when the battlefield categories (1 - 6) are isolated by year, source, and newspaper, there are significant differences in the choices editors made for each paper. For example, in 1991 the New York Times did not use any images from staff photographers, but in 2003, 37.9% of their pictures from the battle areas came from staffers. The Chicago Tribune did not use any pool photographs in 2003 while the Los Angeles Times did not print any photographs from pool photojournalists during both wars. However, for both conflicts, the bulk of the battle area photographs came from picture agencies, albeit with a decrease in use between 1991 and 2003 because more staff photographers were sent to cover the Iraqi War.23
Although the same number of days (seven) was studied for each war, the Persian Gulf War was preceded by air attacks for over a month before ground action commenced while the Iraqi War's ground troop movements started after only one day of air attacks. Consequently, differences in how the newspapers covered and presented the wars to readers might occur because of differences in how the wars were executed. However, Table 3 shows that the percentage of battlefield images, the most dramatic coverage possible during a war, were similar for each day and for each conflict with no significance differences between them making the two time periods compatible for comparison, (13, N=1023) = 18.68, p < .134.
Significant differences were found in page selection, (3, N=1023) = 199.36, p < .001. Unexpectedly, there were almost twice as many front page pictures during the 1991 conflict (13.9%) than in 2003 (7.2%). Front page and A section stories accounted for 93.8% of 1991 images while only 47% of the 2003 pictures were placed on the front page and A section. This difference, however, is explained as a majority (50%) of pictures during the 2003 conflict were found in special "B" sections devoted prominently to the conflict, while only 6.3% of 1991 images were found in such sections.
Page placement differences were found, (2, N=1023) = 19.90, p < .001, with a larger proportion of top and bottom images found during 1991 and more middle of the page images found during 2003. Because more pictures were printed within separate sections, and not only on the front pages in 2003 as compared with 1991, these differences were seen because more full-page picture stories with images placed in the middle were designed in 2003.
Differences in photographic perspective approached significance (2, N=1023) = 4.87, p < .08, with proportionately more close images during 2003 (45.3%), than during 1991 (38.2%), and more far images in 1991 (14.5%) than in 2003 (11.8%), but the differences between the wars were slight indicating that photojournalism techniques in covering wars had not changed to any great extent.
Size differences, (3, N=1023) = 33.26, p < .001, found more 1991 images between 31-50 inches (27.8%) compared to 2003 (18.6%), and more 2003 images greater than 50 inches at 17.4% compared to 1.9% for 1991, with images under 30 inches proportionately very similar for both years. Again, because many more photographs were published on full-page displays in 2003, larger images were printed.
This research attempted to answer the question: Was there a quantitative and qualitative difference between what and how visual messages were published for the first week of fighting between the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and the War with Iraq of 2003? The answer, at least as applied to the findings from this study, is mixed.
The embedding program offered the opportunity for many more reporters and photojournalists to accompany military personnel to the various war zones during the 2003 War with Iraq than with the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Editors back home selected more photographs in every content category, publishing more than twice as many images overall in 2003 as compared to 1991. More photographs depicted fighting scenes in 2003. However, the percentage of battle area scenes was about the same for the two time periods. Nevertheless, as Table 2 reveals, staff photographers had their pictures from the battlefields published more often in 2003 than 1991-a direct result of photographers being able to accompany military personnel due to the embedding process.
And yet, the general public never saw many of the images taken by photojournalists. Close-up and medium views that showed bloodied combatants were only about five percent of the total number of images for both wars. In a New York Times article for example, a picture submitted to Time magazine was described as "the bloodied head of a dead Iraqi with an American soldier standing tall in the background."24
Arab and other news agencies around the world showed their viewers the full extent of the war with gruesome depictions and wondered why their Western media counterparts were sanitizing the violence. The difference may be one of editorial intent. The executive director of "NBC Nightly News" said, "You watch some Arab coverage and you get a sense that there is a blood bath at the hand of the US military. That is not my take on it." The difference may also be a judgment call based on the taste for such images by readers. The managing editor of Time, James Kelly admitted, "You don't want to give the reader a sanitized war, but there has to be some judgment and taste."25 Few images of corpses were ever shown to American newspaper readers.
Slightly more non-battlefield image categories were published in 2003 (42.6%) than in 1991 and many more protestor images were published in 2003. These findings reflect the higher level of controversy associated with the 2003 conflict.
There were more front page, front section, B section, and other section pictures in 2003. Interestingly, as a percentage, there were more front page and front section images in 1991. However, it would seem this is only because more than half the 2003 images were found in special sections specifically devoted to the conflict. Thus, in 2003 there was not only an increase in the number of front page and front section pictures, but an actual doubling in overall pictures as a result of the additional images found in these special sections.
Findings indicated slightly more close-up images for 2003 and more far-away shots for 1991. Differences may have been obscured by the heavier reliance on close-up portrait "head shots" during 1991. Further analysis limited to the viewpoint of battle scene shots might find a greater proportion of close proximity shots for 2003. Although even then the use of different camera lenses makes such assessments difficult.
Although the sizes used for the images under 31 square inches were roughly the same for the two time periods, there was a dramatic decrease in the number of images that were 31 - 50 square inches and an increase in the number of large photographs over 50 square inches. In 1991, 1.9% of the pictures were over 50 square inches while the percentage was 16.0 in 2003. In terms of placement, more pictures were found on the middle of the page in 2003 than in 1991.
In sum, the results of this investigation revealed many notable differences in photographic coverage of the two wars. The increase in images published by staff photographers in 2003 confirms expectations that embedding provided publications greater direct access to the conflict than did the pooled practices in place in 1991. In 2003, there were also more pictures published in almost all content categories, more pictures published in special "B" sections of the newspapers, more photographs placed throughout the pages and more close, larger pictures.
From a framing perspective, this sheer increase in images alone might communicate a difference in the significance and prominence of the war in 2003 compared to the 1991 conflict. In addition to an increase in raw numbers, there were also proportionately more fighting scenes and protest scenes depicted in 2003. Interestingly, however, the proportion of photographs for the combined categories of battle images was very similar for both conflicts. These findings would seem to suggest that affording publications greater direct access to war zones may not automatically result in more direct war coverage. Several factors beyond the shift from pooled to embedded journalistic practices may help account for some of the differences and similarities in the photographic coverage of the two conflicts.
Between the years covered by this study, there were at least five major economic and/or technological developments within the mass media that possibly influenced the results of this study: 1) the merger of the Tribune Co. with the Times Mirror Co., 2) the introduction of color by the New York Times, 3) the further acceptance of modular design and the 50-inch web press, 4) digital photography and advances in communication, and 5) the World Wide Web.
In March 2000 the Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune purchased the Times Mirror Co. that owns the Los Angeles Times. 26 Nevertheless, there was no evidence found of editorial similarities between the two newspapers. The dramatic increase in the number of pictures used from 1991 to 2003 might be an indication of economic pressures coming from competition from other newspapers, magazines, television, and websites.
The New York Times on Monday September 15, 1997 broke from its "gray lady" tradition and included color photographs.27 Accompanying this decision was a rededication to newspaper design concentrating on the visual message. For this study color could not be a variable because microfilm is a black and white medium. 28 However, it was observed that the newspaper published more images by its staff photographers than the other two newspapers within a well-designed second section in 2003.
The placement of the photographs on the pages between 1991 and 2003 might have been influenced by the increased popularity of modular design. As reported by Utt and Pasternack, "As is often the case with modular design, the dominant photo seems to have found a regular location in the center of the page...."29 And indeed, a 13.9% increase in the number of pictures placed in the center of the pages between 1991 and 2003 was found. Modular design also compliments the move by hundreds of newspapers to reduce the width of their pages an inch using a 50-inch web press. The change can save a publisher millions of dollars in newsprint costs, the second highest expense for a newspaper under labor.30 For this study, the percentage of front page pictures declined from 13.9% in 1991 to 7.2% in 2003 while the size of the images overall decreased, except for the largest sizes (over 50 square inches) that were overwhelming used within "B" or second sections. Some experts predict that most newspapers will eventually switch to a tabloid size if circulation continues to decline and newsprint costs rise.
With better access to actual fighting scenes combined with advances in digital photography, computer technology, and satellite telephonic communication between 1991 and 2003, photographers during the Iraqi War were able to take their images, edit them on their laptop computers, and send the pictures back home to their editors within minutes instead of hours. This increased speed in creating, cropping, and communicating photographs meant that editors had more time to decide which and how the pictures would be displayed. This fact also meant that editors had the luxury to review more carefully non-staff photographer choices and explains why images from miscellaneous sources were the majority used despite an increase in staff photographer pictures. Furthermore, advances in computerized page makeup and offset printing allowed editors to design their pages with larger, high quality color images.31
Finally, by 2003 the World Wide Web was established as a communications staple allowing presentation of pictures beyond the traditional print medium on each newspaper's website. Future research should compare the pictures used on websites with those printed on paper and how design considerations for the Web have influenced traditional newspaper design and vice versa.
The United States has been engaged in military conflicts both honorable and questionable. Inspired by the need to report each war to an anxious public, journalists have traveled to the front lines to produce stories and pictures both supportive and critical. As our understanding of the informational and emotional power of visual messages has increased, military strategists and politicians have instituted various forms of press management of images in an attempt to protect their troops and to control public opinion. Looking at the content of the images reveals the unmistakable fact that the military received the type of coverage it hoped when it installed the embedding program. For although journalists were allowed safer access to battlefronts that were denied in wars past, the images published from the actual battle areas were overwhelmingly pro-military. Consequently, there were few pictures published of civilian casualties from either side.
In his 1998 work, Body Horror, John Taylor wrote, "On balance, it is more important to have reports and see images of horrors than to risk forgetting them."32 Media ethicist Deni Elliott also argued that the public should get more from its media. She wrote, "U.S. citizens need something from news media that is different from that which they get from government. To make educated decisions for self-governance, citizens need a media perspective that is broader than the governmental rhetoric, and citizens need images that do more than serve the government's agenda."33
Berenger concluded that the "frames embedded in the critical messages often reflected the worldviews (schema) of reporters and their media cultures..." which is why "newspaper photographs from the [Middle East] region tended to concentrate on dead and injured Iraqis, which Western press seemed to ignore."34 Whether as a tightly controlled pool photographer or as an embed with ever-present military personnel, the photographs from the wars were filtered by editors with their own views of how the conflicts should be framed. As Ross explains, "... it should surprise no one that the images and texts produced by multinational media conglomerates tend to reflect the dominant ideas and ideals of society's elite and powerful."35 American editors framed the conflict in vastly different ways based on their journalistic, cultural, economic, and audience expectations.
The American public and the rest of the world have a much better understanding of the benefits, rigors and horrors of war when journalists are allowed to cover conflicts as closely and completely as possible. Given the results from this study, the embedding procedure was a progressive step in this process, but editors should make sure that the complete story of the war is being presented to the readers back home.
1 Malcom W. Browne, "The Military vs. the Press," New York Times 3 March 1991, sec. 6, p. 27.
2 Julianne H. Newton, The Burden of Visual Truth The Role of Photojournalism in Mediating Reality (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2001), 100.
3 "Lawsuit on Gulf War Press Curbs Dismissed," New York Times 17 April 1991, sec. A, p. 12.
4 Sherry Ricchiardi, "Close to the Action," American Journalism Review Retrieved August 4, 2003 from www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=2991.
5 Tom Rosenstiel, et. al. "Embedded Reporters: What are Americans Getting?" Project for Excellence in Journalism Retrieved August 4, 2003 from www.journalism.org/resources/research/reports/war/embed/methodology.asp.
6 David Shaw, "Embedded Reporters Make for Good Journalism," Los Angeles Times 6 April 2003, part 5, p. 12.
7 Shaw, "Embedded Reporters," 15.
8 Jack Shafer, "The General who Devised the "Embedded" Program Deserves a Fourth Star," Slate 25 March 2003. Retrieved July 17, 2003 from slate.msn.com/id/2080699/.
9 "Assessing Media Coverage Of The War In Iraq: Press Reports, Pentagon Rules, And Lessons For The Future," The Brookings Institution, 17 June 2003. Retrieved September 11, 2005 from www.brookings.org/dybdocroot/comm/events/20030617.pdf.
10 Op. Cit.
11 William M. Arkin, "Good News from the Front," Los Angeles Times 11 May 2003, M1.
12 Anthony Swofford, "The Way We Live Now: The War at Home," New York Times 30 March 2003, Sec. 6, p. 18.
13 Personal E-mail received July 23, 2003.
14 Ted Spiker, "Cover Coverage: How U.S. Magazine Covers Captured the Emotions of the September 11 Attacks-and How Editors and Art Directors Decided on Those Themes." Retrieved September 11, 2005 from aejmcmagazine.bsu.edu/journal/archive/Spring_2003/Spiker.htm.
15 Wim Roefs, "From Framing to Frame Theory: A Research Method Turns Theoretical Concept," Paper presented for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference, August 1998. Retrieved September 11, 2005 from list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9812E&L=AEJMC&P=R9783&I=-3&m=969.
16 Todd Gitlin, The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 7.
17 Shay Sayre and Cynthia King, Entertainment and Society Audiences, Trends, and Impacts. (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2003), 11.
18 Ralph D. Berenger, "Gulf War Fallout: A Theoretical Approach to Understand and Improve Media Coverage of the Middle East," Global Media Journal, Vol. 3 Issue 5 (Fall 2004). Retrieved on February 18, 2005 from http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/SubmittedDocuments/Fall2004/refereed/berenger.htm, 3.
19 Susan D. Ross, "Unconscious, Ubiquitous Frames," in Paul Martin Lester and Susan D. Ross (eds.) Images the Injure Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media Second Edition, (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2003), 31-32.
20 Op. Cit.
21 Due to differences between the field of view offered by a particular lens, the position of a photojournalist behind it, and the position of the subject of the image precluded assessing actual distances. Perceived distance is thus based on a careful analysis of the relative positioning of the subject and the photographer based on extensive professional experience and communicated to the coders.
22 The use of embedded staff photographers by each newspaper was minimal. For the week in 2003 analyzed for this study, the Chicago Tribune used one while the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times each employed two embedded photojournalists according to picture editors of the respective newspapers (personal communications, July, 2005).
23 The four major picture agencies represented in this study contributed 196 pictures in 1991 and 311 in 2003. Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the Associated Press (AP) percentages declined between the years (21% to 16.1% for AFP and 59.2% to 49.2% for the AP) while Reuters increased from 19.9% to 27.7% and Getty Images (which was founded in 1995) contributed 7.1% of the 2003 images from picture agencies.
24 David Carr, Jim Rutenberg, and Jacques Steinberg, "A Nation at War: Bringing Combat Home; Telling War's Deadly Story At Just Enough Distance," New York Times 7 April 2003, sec. B, p. 13.
25 Carr, "A Nation at War," 13.
26 "Tribune Buys Times Mirror." March 21, 2000. Retrieved February 17, 2005 from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june00/tribune_3-21.html.
27 Judy Litt, "The Gray Lady gets a Splash of Color." Retrieved February 17, 2005 from http://graphicdesign.about.com/library/weekly/aa091897.htm.
28 However, paper versions of the 2003 Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times newspapers were available so that the use of color could be studied on a limited basis. For the two newspapers, 142 or 40% of all the pictures published in 2003 for the two newspapers were printed in color. Furthermore, 107 or 75% of the color pictures for both newspapers were from the battlefield (content categories 1 - 6), 56 or 39% were taken by staff photographers, and 123 or 87% were placed on the frontpage and within the A section indicating an emphasis and importance in the use of color to help tell the story of the war to readers.
29 Sandra H. Utt and Steve Pasternack, "Front Page Design: Some Trends Continue," Newspaper Research Journal Vol. 24, No. 3 (Summer 2003), 59.
30 Warren Watson, "News and Design Considerations for the 50-inch Web," November 28, 2000. Retrieved from http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/content/p1472_c1390.cfm on February 18, 2005.
31 Op. Cit.
32 John Taylor, Body Horror Photojournalism, Catastrophe and War (NY: New York University Press, 1998), 7.
33 Deni Elliott, "Terrorists We Like and Terrorists We Don't Like" in Images that Injure Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media Second Edition, eds., Paul Martin Lester & Susan Dente Ross, (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers 2004), 51.
34 Berenger, 6-7
35 Ross, 33.