Q&A with Sun reporter in Kuwait

SunSpot Staff

JAMIE COSTELLO: Todd is joining us now because his trip out of Kuwait City never happened. That's because of a frightening, tragic turn of events for journalists. Todd joins us now from Kuwait City. Todd, here we are, Sunday morning in Baltimore. You were supposed to be advancing in Iraq. What's stopping you? What happened?

TODD RICHISSIN: I think a lot of reporters here had hoped, and had been led to believe that we would be in southern Iraq by now. Yesterday there were a number of journalists who had been hurt or seriously injured in southern Iraq. The area was not as secure as they had been led to believe, and after a number of people were shot they closed the border for everybody.

JC: We keep hearing the word "embedded." Are you embedded with the force there, or were these free-lance journalists embedded or did they wander out on their own?

TR: Yeah, I'm not Jamie, and that's a good question. I think people don't really understand, and people like me throw that term around a lot thinking they do. The embedded journalists are the journalists who are attached to individual units within the military. They travel with them, then they sleep along with them and then they move with them. Now, they are under very strict restrictions, many of them understandable. You don't want to give away troop positions. What they are limited on is giving a very narrow slice of what they can see from where they are. In Kuwait City, where I am, there are about 1,400 journalists who are not embedded, who want to get into southern Iraq more or less on their own. There are tight restrictions and you have a bit more context. That's where a lot of reporters are right now.

JC: We're getting word just now that [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld just announced that some journalists may now be missing. Have you heard this?

TR: Yes I had. There were a number yesterday, and we know this firsthand, who went missing. There was an ITN crew, which is a crew out of Britain. There are three missing. They've been missing for more than a day. There were some other reporters who got into some real trouble when they went ahead of some American tanks. They ran into some Iraqis, and were shot at, they crashed their car, then ran into a field. They were able to call out on their cell phones for help and the military actually went in there at about 11 o'clock at night and pulled those guys out of there.

JC: Let me ask this, if it were up to Todd Richissin to go or stay, what would you do?

TR: I will go when I feel safe. I'm not a cowboy and this is a real war. I would like to cover the next story, too, so when it's safe enough, and you weigh the risks versus the benefits and the risks are that I'd come out on top, then I'd go.

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