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CBS News Reporter Lara Logan Assaulted

Are journalists in more danger than before? What should we be doing to protect ourselves and our colleagues?

Steve.Scott's picture

Lara is out of the hospital now, and recovering at home. President Obama called her today to convey his best wishes.

Her many friends here at CBS and elsewhere are pulling for her.

Steve Scott, News Anchor
WCBS Newsradio 880
524 West 57th Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10019

(212) 975-2127

Bob.Roberts's picture

The attack on Lara Logan is disgusting but cannot be a surprise to anyone who has followed the situation in Egypt. Our friends at RTDNA are weighing in on the matter. If you go to the letter on the Web site, it will give you links to RTDNA's guidelines for Breaking News Events, Graphic Content and Live Coverage. This is reprinted from the RTDNA Web site:

A letter from RTDNA Chairman Mark Kraham:
February 18, 2011

The continued assaults, obstructions and detentions of journalists covering demonstrations in the Middle East leaves me extraordinarily concerned on two levels.

I should first preface my concerns by saying what's been stated repeatedly countless times in recent weeks by those of us who stand-up for journalists' rights: all acts of violence against journalists and any limitations intentionally placed upon them by external agents are completely unacceptable and should be addressed by international authorities and communities immediately.

My concerns come not only as the chairman of RTDNA but also as a news director.

The recent attacks against and censorship of journalists in Egypt, Iran, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen shed a bright light on a very harsh reality about our profession: it's inherently dangerous. With that, our jobs are extraordinarily important and stories - essential stories - must be told.

As is true with all news managers, there's always a concern for the personal safety of your staff. With the recent events in Egypt and other volatile locations, I am left pondering where the balancing point is in keeping journalists safe while telling a full, unmitigated story.

Even on the local level, journalists are subject to covering an array of stories that put them in real danger: fires, crashes, police stand-offs, demonstrations, hurricanes, earthquakes. The list is vast and presents hundred of questions resembling:

"How close to the fire or standoff is too close for the journalist's safety?" or, "Is walking among protesters going to be safe for the journalist?"

Conversely: "Will the audience understand the severity of the incident if the journalist isn't close enough?" or "Is walking among the protesters essential to telling this story?"

Answers to these and similar questions are often real-time judgment calls that are perhaps impossible to address with a black-and-white answer. Since the RTDNA membership is well-versed on such matters and an extraordinary asset to journalism, I toss the ball to you.

In doing so, my hope is not that you find a specific, clear cut answer but, rather, spend some time discussing with your news team the best way to approach dangerous-story coverage and instill in them the understanding that there are situations where safety should not be sacrificed for reporting vigilance and vice-versa. Awareness of these situations is perhaps the best first step in preventing unnecessary danger.

A second concern in recent weeks is one shared by everyone who understands empathy. While an attack on any journalist is intolerable, the sexual assault against Lara Logan is incomprehensible and affects me not only as a journalist, but as a compassionate human being. This disgusting attack unfortunately demonstrated the worst humanity can sometimes offer and arguably transcends the importance of good storytelling.

I personally offer Lara the best in her recovery and extend a gracious "thank you" for her intrepid reporting on behalf of the entire RTDNA board and membership. Thank you also to all of the journalists who continue to perform with diligence and heroism under the most challenging of circumstances. Your work keeps the world informed; be safe.


Mark Kraham

Bob Roberts
INBA Freedom of Information Chair
1996-97 Past President