Journalists in Iraq - A Survey of Reporters on the Front Lines
Who They Are
The press corps in Iraq is, generally, an experienced group of journalists who have covered war before.
Of those who took part in our survey, most (60%) have worked in journalism for at least 11 years. Another 28% have 5 to 10 years experience, and only 1% has less than five years experience. This last category might also account for the 10% of our respondents who were younger than 30 years old. The rest (79% of them) were between 30 to 64 years.
Most of the press corps (77%) is well versed in reporting from conflict zones. Their experience spans practically all the global conflicts, particularly the Middle East. The most substantial numbers covered events in Afghanistan (48%); Israel, the West Bank and Gaza (48%); Lebanon (53%) and the Balkans (26%).
As part of their preparation for assignment to Iraq, most have taken a conflict survival course (79%) and first-aid training (63%). About one-in-seven (16%) received no special training.
One skill that most of the journalists lack, however, is fluency in Arabic. Fully 82% have minimal to no knowledge of the language, while 10% have moderate skill. Only 7% describe themselves as fluent.
A substantial number of the journalists (39%) have worked in Iraq for a cumulative total of more than 12 months. Another 20% have worked there for seven to 12 months, 31% for two to seven months, and 10% two months or less.
Where are they based in Iraq? Most of them (86%) are working within a 5 kilometer radius of the Green Zone, but none live inside. Most journalists are clustered on the east bank of the River Tigris (across from the Green Zone and at some distance).