The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
Brazos County to distribute free school supplies
‘Back to School Bash’ invites K-12 families on July 12
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 11, 2024
Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) makes contact with a ball for a double during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Jones, Appel selected in sixth round of 2024 MLB Draft by Royals, White Sox
Luke White, Sports Editor • July 15, 2024

Junior RHP Tanner Jones and senior C Jackson Appel are heading to the big leagues after both were taken in the sixth round of the 2024 MLB Draft...

Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
Lyle Lovett, other past students remember Bob Rogers
Shalina SabihJuly 15, 2024

In his various positions, Professor Emeritus Bob Rogers laid down the stepping stones that student journalists at Texas A&M walk today, carving...

Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
Analysis: Chancellor Sharp’s retirement comes with new dilemmas
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 2, 2024

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

The role of a reporter

Reporters often place themselves in the way of danger to bring a story to the masses. With Wolf Blitzer reporting from Baghdad in 1991 and again in 2003’s conflict, Dan Rather braving a hurricane to tell America what it was like and Geraldo Rivera reporting from the front lines of the War on Terrorism, once-frightening journalistic pursuits have become routine events for media reporters. America was reminded how dangerous it can be for a reporter when Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted and beheaded in Pakistan and again recently with the deaths of journalists in the current Iraqi conflict. Even though these and other reporters have taken this higher calling of placing themselves in danger to tell a story, they are still Americans first, and their first job is to serve Americans.
Recently, Huntsville Item reporter and Texas A&M graduate Mark Passwaters witnessed a man assault a police officer and flee the scene. He jumped out of his truck and aided the police in apprehending the suspect.
“The media holds an obligation to the public it serves,” Passwaters told The Item. “That doesn’t stop at the notepad.”
Clearly, some journalists adhere to this higher calling. But some do not.
A1989 installment of PBS’ “Ethics in America,” moderated by Harvard University professor Charles Ogletree, posed an ethical dilemma to veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace and ABC News anchor Peter Jennings. If they were traveling with an enemy army and they learned the army was planning to ambush American forces, would they do anything to warn the American soldiers? Wallace replied that he hopes all journalists “would regard it simply as another story that they are there to cover.” Jennings agreed.
Wallace and Jennings believe that their jobs come before their humanity. No journalist should ever make such a poor decision. To choose a story over the lives of humans, especially when you can feasibly prevent the death of not only humans, but fellow Americans, makes you just as guilty as those pulling the trigger.
The sad reality is that if Jennings and Wallace were captured by enemy soldiers, American soldiers would risk their lives to save them.
As a reporter, one is looked upon highly by the public he serves. America brings Wallace and Jennings into their homes to find out what is happening around the world. They are considered leaders in their profession.
If a lawyer or doctor knew that a client or patient was planning to kill someone, they would be obligated to contact authorities, despite the lawyer-client or doctor-patient privilege. That obligation should extend to all journalists as well.
When Passwaters ignored his own safety to help the Huntsville Police Department apprehend the criminal, he did what was right. Instead of pulling out the camera to take pictures of a crime, he helped the police capture a violent offender.
War correspondents should be willing to do the same. If they hear about plots to use the feared weapons of mass destruction, they should inform the Pentagon , not just make sure they get a good view for the pictures.
Despite their feelings on the war, the president or Saddam Hussein, reporters should be willing to do what it takes to prevent the loss of life.
Hypothetically, how would Americans feel if Jennings or Wallace had prior knowledge about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, yet treated them as “simply another story they are there to cover” instead of warning the government and America? Would Americans still be willing to accept them into their homes every night to tell them the news?
They have said they would do as much. Veteran news reporters have a lot to learn from a young A&M graduate.

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