B.U. Bridge

University Professor Geoffrey Hill, at the Marsh Chapel Poetry Reading, Friday, April 18, 5:30 p.m.

Week of 11 April 2003· Vol. VI, No. 28


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Baltimore Sun: Embedded journalists present on-the-spot perspective of war

Firsthand accounts of the war in Iraq, by some 600 American and foreign print and broadcast journalists who are traveling, eating, and sleeping with the coalition troops, are providing vivid and dramatic images of the war, reports the April 4 Baltimore Sun, but complicating the Pentagon’s efforts to shape perceptions of the war and its progress. “It’s obviously making it more difficult for the Pentagon to control the story,” says Andrew Bacevich, a CAS international relations professor, director of the Center for International Relations, and a retired Army colonel. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, most reporters were confined far from the action and only a small pool of them allowed to venture out, under escort, to see any action -- a far cry from the current round-the-clock live war coverage that forces top military officials to constantly respond to the journalists’ eyewitness accounts and interviews. “Our understanding of the [1991] war was shaped by the daily briefings from Central Command that were illustrated with video footage and photographs showing off the military’s precision munitions -- to which we all said, ‘Wow,’” says Bacevich. The decision to allow frontline coverage is one of great consequence, he says, and is likely to dispel the “antiseptic” image of war prevalent since the Gulf War and to shape the way the nation views future conflicts.

Seattle Times: Long war can deplete soldiers’ faith, spirituality

Some war veterans find that their spirituality deepens during combat; others lose their faith or doubt God’s existence because of the suffering they witness. Support groups and retreats for older veterans are starting to explore the long-term effects of combat on spirituality, and studies show that the longer and bloodier the war, the greater the likelihood of residual spiritual difficulties -- an issue that military and veterans’ organizations are watching as U.S. troops fight in Iraq, says the April 5 Seattle Times. “The immediate reaction to trauma is to reach for things that they [the soldiers] can hold onto for survival,” says Carrie Doehring, an STH assistant professor. “Some people draw more heavily on their faith, but others have their basic trust in the goodness of God shattered.” The fighting in Iraq could produce its share of spiritual casualties, she adds. “The key is to respond immediately. If there’s support that helps them make sense of what happened and acknowledge the profound horror they faced, then the trauma doesn’t have as huge an effect.”

Hartford Courant: Aging population continues to work

“Don’t let yourself fall asleep,” says 101-year-old Jack Tamis, who is designing jewelry at Louis Tamis & Sons in New York after starting at the company in 1919 as a floor sweeper and lunch gofer. “Find something of interest to do.” A new gerontological workforce made up of nonagenarians and centenarians who still work and earn a paycheck are pioneers for those to come, says the Hartford Courant on April 7. The U.S. Census Bureau reports 50,454 centenarians in the country, says Thomas Perls, a MED associate professor and the director of the New England Centenarian Study, and perhaps 5 percent of them could be working. From his study of centenarians, he says, he has found “a tremendous argument to be made for the power of taking on new and different things -- for exercising the brain.” He adds that genes play a role in leading a long, active life, based on a “longevity gene” that he and his colleagues have found, which seems to slow the aging process in some people. But he has noticed another personality quality that keeps centenarians active: the ability to manage stress. “They don’t dwell on things,” he says. “They’re able to let go.”

Forbes: War creates new media technologies, expenses

In January, when war in Iraq seemed imminent, news outlets explored portable equipment and software for deployed reporters and camera crews. The new technologies currently being used -- satellite phones, mobile satellite trucks, rental transmission facilities, lower-end cameras, and “pro-sumer” equipment (a cross between professional and consumer technology) -- may help offset broadcast and cable news networks’ financial shortfalls resulting from lost advertising time and expensive war coverage, according to the April 7 Forbes. “News budgets were precarious going into the war,” says Jim Thistle (COM’64), a journalism professor at COM, “and the longer it goes, the more ground the bean counters will try to make up afterwards.” He expects to see managers questioning when reporters need to travel, whether a satellite truck needs to be sent, and even whether a live shot is necessary for some stories.


11 April 2003
Boston University
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