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“Whose side are you on?” Representations of journalism of attachment and detachment in the movies

“Whose side are you on?” Representations of journalism of attachment and detachment in the movies
By
Graham Fraser
ABSTRACT

The journalism of attachment is an idea from veteran war correspondent Martin Bell,who argues that journalistic objectivity in war is inappropriate and unworkable. With his supporters, he argues for a moral journalism that tries to get closer to the truth. However, his opponents believe that such an adoption of subjective reporting is very dangerous. This debate has been further enhanced by the events of 9/11 and its

subsequent affect on journalism. With these academic discourses in mind, I have chosen to look at the issues of objectivity in war reporting, and its particular representation in two Hollywood films: Under Fire and Salvador. The academic writing on journalism films is quite limited, while the writing on objectivity and its filmic representation is even smaller. However, Under Fire and Salvador offer some excellent examples and representations
of the problems of objectivity in war reporting. In a qualitative method, the films will be researched in depth to find a deeper understanding of war reporting and objectivity. After studying the films and the available literature, I will conclude that objectivity, or detachment, should still be
the ideal of war reporting, but we should also have a moral reporting that highlights the problems in the world. While aspects of journalism of attachment have many qualities, such as a caring reporting to the suffering people of the conflict, the abandonment of objectivity in journalism leads down a dangerous road – a path that could result in the truth from the world’s front lines being lost.
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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

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