Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Clonan, T., 2008: Truth and War Reporting: Journalism in Hostile Environments, Interdisciplinary Conference, Probing the Boundaries - At The Interface, Budapest, Hungary


Many journalists, whether reporting on domestic matters internally or on assignment abroad as foreign or development correspondents, may at some point find themselves reporting on violence and hostilities in a hostile environment. This paper examines the professional and personal dilemmas that confront journalists when reporting on violence and within hostile environments both at home and abroad. The author of the paper has participated in armed conflict as a professional soldier in Ireland, Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia. He has also reported on conflict and hostilities as the Irish Times Security Analyst since October 2001. In the last two years, the author has formally interviewed dozens of Irish, British and US foreign correspondents including Martin Bell, Orla Guerin of the BBC and Nir Rosen of the New Yorker in order to fully explore the dilemmas confronted by journalists reporting in volatile and dangerous environments. The paper will draw on the author’s considerable experience as a soldier participating in violent struggle and as a journalist reporting on such events by way of the print and electronic media. The author will demonstrate the manner in which violence and hostilities are mediated by the various political, ideological and practical factors that underpin the news gathering and news making process. The author will incorporate this analysis within a theoretical frame encompassing the political economy of news production, news values and news agenda.Dr. Tom Clonan (Captain Retired)