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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
Romance and Reality

E-Seminar 2
Media and Propaganda

E-Seminar 3
Technologies and Responsibilities

War Reporting
A Series of Three E-Seminars
Taught by: Tom Lansner

E-Seminar Description
In War Reporting, a series of three e-seminars, Professor Tom Lansner, a former war correspondent for the British press in Asia, Africa, and Central America, covers a broad swath of battlefield journalism, from Julius Caesar to contemporary reporting of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq. In the first e-seminar, Romance and Reality, Professor Lansner outlines the evolution of war reporting, chronicling the early male and female pioneers in the field and their often romanticized efforts to convey news to the public from far-flung battlefields. He discusses the control held by editors and other gatekeepers, and why numerous ongoing wars have often received little or no mention in world media.

In Media and Propaganda, the second e-seminar, Professor Lansner examines the history of the ongoing struggle between a free press and militaries and governments, which try to control information and access to combat zones while seeking favorable news coverage. He looks at the development of propaganda during U.S. wars over the past 150 years and traces the spin that reporters, editors, and publishers have created over the years as they sometimes tailored the news to fit their political agendas.

In Technologies and Responsibilities, the final e-seminar in the series, Professor Lansner addresses the consequences of the technological advances that allow real-time reporting from the battlefield and the societal impact of seemingly uncensored reporting, which often purposefully excludes images that a government or its backers would rather the public not consider. In a discussion that includes the 2002 and 2003 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Professor Lansner examines the psychological and physical danger continually faced by reporters in the field, and the need for war reporters to understand and report on the ethical, legal, and humanitarian dimensions of the conflicts that they are witnessing and relating to their audiences.

Series Length:9-15 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE
Interested in this
Go to the series now.

E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Gain a historical perspective on war reporting from the time of Caesar to the Internet.

•   Understand the internal dynamics of the journalistic process.

•   Appreciate the tension between the military establishment and reporters in the field.

•   Recognize the increasing awareness of human rights and other areas of ethics required of reporters today.

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E-Seminar One: Romance and Reality
1.   Preface
2.   The Profession
3.   A Unique Story
4.   Culture of War Correspondents
5.   Proximity
6.   Gatekeepers
7.   Technology
8.   Here to Stay

E-Seminar Two: Media and Propaganda
1.   Introduction
2.   Whose Press
3.   U.S. Wars (1861–1975)
4.   The Gulf War
5.   The Balkans
6.   Conclusion

E-Seminar Three: Technologies and Responsibilities
1.   Introduction
2.   Technology
3.   Ethics
4.   War Crimes
5.   Changes
6.   Conclusion

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Thomas R. Lansner has taught international media and policy at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs since 1994. He served as Assistant Dean from May 1999 to August 2001.

Throughout the 1980s, Professor Lansner was a correspondent, principally in Africa and Asia, for the London Observer, the Guardian, Far Eastern Economic Review, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and other media outlets. Based in Uganda, India, and then the Philippines, he covered political, economic, and social developments, as well as wars and civil conflicts, in countries across Africa and the Asia-Pacific. He reported from conflict zones in then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Uganda, pre-independence Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the occupied West Bank. In 1983 he spent a week with the Afghan mujihadin, who were fighting the Soviets, and he traveled with guerilla groups through combat zones in several countries.

Professor Lansner writes regularly on international affairs and has served as a consultant on media, human-rights, and democratization issues to numerous nongovernmental organizations and political parties. He also trains human-rights advocates in media skills and conducts seminars for media practitioners on human rights, conflict, and election coverage.

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Recommended Reading
Bartimus, Tad, ed. War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters Who Covered Vietnam. New York: Random House, 2002.

Darrow, Siobhan. Flirting with Danger: Confessions of a Reluctant War Reporter. New York: Anchor Books, 2002.

Hallin, Daniel C. The "Uncensored War": The Media And Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Ignatieff, Michael. The Warrior's Honor: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998.

Knightley, Philip. The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Kosovo. With an introduction by John Pilger. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

Lapham, Lewis. Theater of War. New York: The New Press, 2002

MacArthur, John R. Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War. New York: Hill and Wang, 1992.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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