Combat Correspondent Style Guide and Notebook

The Imitation of Christ
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I'm not clear that many of those 22, people complaining would have even heard of the Press Complaints Commission before the janmoir hashtag and Facebook campaign pages got going. They've now had a dispiriting experience of press self-regulation. Subsequently, Rod Liddle has become the first person to have complaint about their online blog upheld by the PCC , because they ruled an opinion piece must have some basis in fact. The Liddle article was also widely complained about online, and this particular ruling may be the beginning of us seeing online protests having an impact on press accountability.

There is still an inequality in publishing - albeit one that I think sometimes journalists don't appreciate.

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Journalists still have exclusive access to newspaper audiences, and the technology developed by the news industry. But they also have access to all of the other freely available tools as well. When I look at a publishing platform like Tumblr , it sometimes seems like the only way you can't publish to the Internet is by folding up a message into a bottle and throwing it into the sea.


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Everything else - email, voice phone call, desktop app, iPhone app - is catered for. There is no reason why a journalist cannot use Tumblr or YouTube or Dipity to tell their story. They are not forbidden from using the same tools as the 'citizen journalist' or blogger. Blogging was only subsequently integrated back into the BBC site when he had demonstrated that the medium had journalistic value.

The amount of equipment needed to cover events has also drastically decreased. A single decent smartphone can replace the separate camera, sound recording equipment and laptop needed to report from events even just a couple of years ago. Somewhat taking its shape from the over-by-over or minute-by-minute text sports commentary, these are rolling articles on a topic updated during the day as a story unfolds.

There seems to have been a particular focus on them for this year's election campaign. At The Guardian, Andrew Sparrow has been leading the way. On any given day his election live blog will cover the main party press conferences, feature embedded video, commentary on the party campaigns, and prominent links to other web coverage of the election. It is very much a pick'n'mix hybrid type of coverage, and seems particularly native to the web.

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Unlike the traditional written article, or the two minute video or audio slot, you can't translate the live blog directly to another medium. Another area where I expect to see technological innovation impact on journalism is the concept of 'Linked data'.

Branded Notebooks - Noted in Style

This is a movement to make the web more 'semantic', taking us from a collection of hyperlinked documents to a collection of hyperlinked data and facts. In some domain areas, like music, the principle is becoming well established, and media companies are already making use of it.

Explore the ABC

Style is subjective, and we all need to realize. Avoid the redundant phrase ABM missiles. Warnings should be broadcast immediately before the relevant program or program segment. Try center on or revolve around. Do not continue use of the title in subsequent references. Boys and girls 6 through 8 are Camp Fire Blue Birds.

The site Musicbrainz provides a unique identifier for artists, which allows other sites to link their content about a band or singer with relevant related content. The Magnetic Fields are 3ff72af39dd-9fd4a for example, and so the BBC are able to make this page which gives an overview of the band by extracting a biography from Wikipedia, and automatically assembles other information about them from around the web. They are then able to link this to a list of when and where their music has been played on BBC Radio. The domain model to make these kinds of connections between news stories is more complex - but some of the building blocks are beginning to appear.

Not least of these is the fact that the UK Government is committed to releasing data according to Linked Data standards , raising the possibility that every school or hospital, for example, will have permanent unique identifiers that can be applied to news content. This could significantly change the way that journalists research stories and make connections , and news organisations seem well placed to utilise this development to present the data-driven stories that will emerge to their mass audiences.

A third trend is illustrated by Google's "Living Stories" project. It was astraddle a railroad, and there was a second tank behind it. We had no idea how many more tanks might be in the little village that lay between us and Colonel Smith's battalion. And, to make things even more tense, Colonel Smith's battalion was now urgently messaging us for ammunition. Unless the tanks were smashed, his forward battalion would be cut off. At this point a small ammunition-laden convoy roared up the road.

Two lieutenants jumped out and rushed up the hill to Lieutenant Payne. They were tall, fine-looking officers with all the bravado and eagerness of very young, very green soldiers. Well make it all right, but we'd like you to give us a couple of your men. We'll just wait and make another check with headquar- ters.

At Your Service

Then maybe we'll make like Custer. We were becoming in- creasingly impressed with the sure, professional way Payne was handling the situation. I had asked him earlier in the day how he felt about being back at war. A man's only got a certain number of close calls coming to him.

But as soon as I heard the guns I got over it. When I saw him again in August, he and Colonel Ayres were the only two survivors of the battal- ion headquarters staff of eleven. Of the battalion itself, about men at full strength, only were still on the line.

Marie Colvin’s Private War

The rest were wounded or dead. From our graveyard foxholes we saw the first of these deaths the first American death in Korea. When orders to attack first went out to the fifty-odd youngsters in our bazooka team they gazed at the tanks as if they were watching a newsreel. It took prodding from their officers to make them realize that this was it that it was up to them to attack.

The first swoosh from a bazooka flared out when they were nearly five hundred yards away from the tanks. But the aim was good and it looked like a direct hit. But apparently it didn't look good to Lieutenant Payne. We could see enemy soldiers jump from the tank, and machine guns began to chatter at the approaching bazooka teams. Through my field glasses I could see a blond American head poke up out of the grass the young soldier was trying to adjust his aim.

Flashes from the tank flicked the ground horribly close, and I thought I saw him fall. But in a few minutes I heard a soldier shout, "They got Shad- rickright in the chest He's dead, I guess.

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I thought then how much more matter-of-fact the actuality of war is than any of its projections in literature. The wounded seldom cry there's no one with time and emotion to listen. Bazookas were still sounding off. We felt certain that the tanks, which were like sitting ducks astride the tracks, would be demolished within a matter of minutes. But time passed, and suddenly, after an hour, we saw the bazooka boys coming back toward us across the fields.

Besides, these damn bazooks don't do any good against those heavy tanks they bounce right off. But even so it seemed incredible that we were going to pull back with enemy tanks still within our lines. I was gripped with a sense of unreality that followed me through most of the war. Reality, I guess, is just what we are accustomed to and in Korea there was never time to become accus- tomed to anything.

Incredible or not, it was clear enough as we returned to the command post that we Americans had not only been soundly defeated in our first skirmish but that a major re- treat of our battalion would be forced. We simply had nothing with which to halt the tanks, and we were far too few to prevent the North Korean infantry from coming around our flanks.

We hated to think what was happening to Colonel Smith's forward battalion. But you soon learn, at a war front, to place events firmly in separate emotional compartments. There was abso- lutely nothing to be gained by thinking about Colonel Smith's situation. When we got back to battalion head- quarters I think most of us tried to lock the door of the worry compartment and concentrate on immediate, ma- terial problems.

The Silver Girl

My first act, on getting out of the jeep at head- quarters, was to slip and sprawl flat on my belly in a muddy rice paddy. Soaked and mud-caked, my consum- ing, immediate interest was the getting-dry department. Lieutenant Payne came to my rescue. He found me some dry green fatigues and gallantly escorted me to an empty thatched hut where I changed.

Next on the list of compelling interests was flea powder. I had been in agony all day, completely defenseless against as vicious an as- sault as fleadom ever made. A thick network of bites pocked my waist, thighs, and ankles. I hurried down to the medic's hut to beg for the little gray box of insecticide powder which was to be my most precious personal pos- session of the Korean war. I was talking to a Medical Corps sergeant when they brought in the body of Private Shadrick. His face was un- covered. As they carefully laid his body down on the bare boards of the shack I noticed that his face still bore an ex- pression of slight surprise.

It was an expression I was to see often among the soldier dead. The prospect of death had probably seemed as unreal to Private Shadrick as the entire war still seemed to me. He was very young indeed his fair hair and frail build made him look far less than his nineteen years. Someone went to look for a dry blanket for him, and just then the medic came back with the flea powder.

Ernest Hemingway

He glanced at the body as he was handing me the gray box. The story unfolded shortly after midnight.

Truly a Loyal Friend to Anyone Who Knew Him

I had been trying to sleep on a blanket-covered bit o floor where other correspondents and most of the battalion officers were also stretched out. Despite bone-aching weariness, the memory of our bazooka skirmish and the thought of tanks within our lines filled my brief sleep with uneasi- ness. Suddenly through the darkness a voice whispered to me, "Better get into the war room fast. We may have to pull out suddenly.

As lie looked at me ques- tioningly, I added, "It s exactly the same time that we had to leave Seoul and Suwon. In the center sat General Earth and "Red" Ayres. Deep concern had replaced the confidence that had marked both these men only twelve hours earlier.