‘NYT’ Says Two Reporters in Iraq Regain Embed Rights

By: Joe Strupp

Confusion had continued Thursday over whether two New York Times reporters in Iraq had been barred from embedded journalist status, as one newspaper claimed, or the dispute over images of a wounded soldier that the Times aired (in print and on the Web) had been settled without further penalty to the pair.

Now a Times spokeswoman tells E&P that the two reporters will be allowed to embed again.

The soldier later died and the military claimed the Times had gone beyond accepted rules for embeds in showing such images so quickly.

The statement sent to E&P from Abbe Ruttenberg Serphos, director of public relations for The New York Times Co., follows.

The New York Times is extremely sensitive to the loss suffered by families
when loved ones are killed in Iraq. We try to write with respect and
compassion for the inevitable losses. We believe the article was a
portrait of Sergeant Leija’s courage under fire and showed how much his men respected and cared for him.

In terms of notification, we did not run the article or the photographs
until Sergeant Leija’s family had been notified of his death. We also took
extraordinary measures to make sure that the family knew an article and a video were going to be published. The military assured us that they would notify the family that an article and a video were going to be published.

We have run pictures of the wounded in the past, without objection from the military. We also tried to contact the family both by calling their home, where there was no answer, and by reaching out to a local school principal and a Congressional liaison office working with the family to make sure they knew how to contact us in case of any concerns.

After two days of discussions with the military headquarters, including a
conversation between Bill Keller and General Odierno, the issue has now
been resolved in a way that we think satisfies the military, the soldiers,
The Times and its readers. Damien Cave and Robert Nickelsberg will be able to embed with American military units in Iraq.

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