Military Reporters and Editors Conference Opens Thursday: Yes, Iraq is Lead Story

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By: Joe Strupp

No surprise, the War in Iraq is expected to be the prime topic of discussion at this week’s third annual Military Reporters and Editors conference outside Washington, D.C., according to MRE president Dave Moniz.

“Iraq is the big event,” said Moniz, who is a military writer for USA Today. “It is still first and foremost.”

But the three-day conference, which kicks off Thursday evening at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Crystal City in Arlington, Va., also includes seminars on the basics of military writing, editing, photography, and investigations. Other highlights include a keynote address from renowned journalist Seymour Hersh and panel discussions that will feature ABC News’s Ted Koppel and Joe Galloway, author and columnist for Knight Ridder Newspapers.

“One of the panels is about looking at the situation in Iraq and seeing if it is as bad as has been reported,” Moniz said. “Are we reporting enough of the good news? We’ll just throw that wide open and ask.”

Other sessions will discuss the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the overall war on terror, and coverage of the National Guard and the reserves. “We will look at how the [Abu Ghraib] story evolved in the media,” Moniz said. “There was a story out there for months, but until the images emerged, it did not capture the public’s attention.”

MRE leaders also will distribute the group’s first-ever journalism awards. Anyone interested in registering for the conference can do so at the MRE Web site, www.militaryreporters.org.

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