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: Why Journalists Go in When Everyone Else Wants Out

by Greg Dobbs

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4401-5276-4

Veteran broadcast journalist Dobbs tells the behind-the-scenes story of his profession in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

The author tells readers in his introduction about the nature of his book–these are “war stories,” he says, or if they prefer, “bar stories” or even “letters home from the field.” Dobbs paints a clear picture of how a news team operates in these places, sometimes courageously, sometimes stupidly, sometimes both. However, at times, when Dobbs is a bit too in love with his jokes and marks a real knee-slapper with an exclamation point, it might seem like this is more the made-up autobiography of a character, like Tom Grunick, William Hurt’s character from Broadcast News. There are times when Dobbs overexplains simple ideas, taking an entire paragraph to describe the fairly familiar geography of England and Ireland. He makes no effort to hide the adrenaline-junkie instinct that may seem stereotypical of journalists covering dangerous situations–that these professionals sometimes jump in where bullets are flying not necessarily because it’s a story that needs telling, but simply because it’s exciting. At other times, Dobbs seems nothing less than an expert in his field, combining historical knowledge with practical experience about surviving in some of the world’s worst places. Taken as a whole, the faults and triumphs paint an honest portrait of someone trying to adjust to the rigors of his profession just like anyone else, except those rigors involve navigating battle-torn streets in Europe and the Middle East, interviewing gun-runners and trying to convince the girlfriend of a convicted killer to give you an on-camera exclusive.

A somewhat flawed, yet largely enthralling, story about life on the front lines of journalism.