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The Pentagon Reporters

Sims, Robert B.

Published by National Defense University Press, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC, 1983
Soft cover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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x, 177 p. 23 cm. Illustrations, Portraits. Notes. Sources. Index. Those who make national security decisions in the United States inevitably meet the press. Hardened though a government civilian or military officer may be toward television or newspapers, he will nonetheless eventually be required to do business with reporters-or to decide how best to avoid them. Sometimes good fortune with the press spells victory for a policy or program. Failure in dealings with the media can doom the best efforts of the brightest people. Clearly, those who would be successful defense advocates and managers need to know about reporters and the flow of news. This study looks at national security news by examining the small band of reporters who are considered the Pentagon press corps. It introduces those who regularly cover military stories. It presents reporters largely as they see themselves, in the context of their working environment. It tells us what they say about their work, their colleagues, their organizations, and their sources. As a result, the study tilts toward being an occasionally sympathetic examination of why reporters do what they do-especially why they do things that often irritate leaders in the Defense Establishment. This approach-from the reporter's viewpoint-has a purpose. National security decisionmakers sometimes view unrestrained news coverage of military subjects as baggage the democratic system carries, baggage so weighty it may some day sink the ship of state. Some regard reporters as alarmists, as people who are inaccurate, intentionally biased, and opposed to the military. To them, reporters are out to sell newspapers, to be seen on the television tube, to make a name for themselves regardless of the cost to the nation. In certain cases, these critics may be right. It really does not matter. Officials must-barring a change in the Constitution-contend with reporters anyway. They should study journalists carefully, see them as they see themselves, know their capabilities and weaknesses, and develop sensible methods for working with them. It's part of the job. After a brief overview of the historical roots of reporting about national defense, the following pages are organized by media categories. Wire services, the part of the news system that reports developments rapidly to other news organizations, are described first. Then come chapters about the suppliers of the printed word-daily newspapers, news services, weekly news magazines, and technical and policy publications. Television, perhaps the most troublesome of all the media covering the military, is discussed in a chapter on broadcasting. Another chapter considers the international and internal publics, noting the interaction between Pentagon reporters and the Government's overseas and employee information programs. The final section focuses on Pentagon correspondents as a group, and includes some general observations for those who want to understand defense news coverage better, or to become better communicators themselves. Good. No dust jacket as issued. Signed by author. Cover has some wear and soiilng. Bookseller Inventory # 63997

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Pentagon Reporters

Publisher: National Defense University Press, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC

Publication Date: 1983

Binding: Trade paperback

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: Presumed first edition/first printing.

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