Archive for Saturday, February 7, 2009

AP leader: U.S. should expand access for journalists in wartime

Fourth estate’s importance increases with growth of government ‘influence operations,’ he says

Tom Curley, CEO of The Associated Press, responds Friday to a journalism student’s question in the University Daily Kansan newsroom at Stauffer-Flint Hall on the Kansas University campus. Curley was awarded the William Allen White National Citation on Friday.

Tom Curley, CEO of The Associated Press, responds Friday to a journalism student’s question in the University Daily Kansan newsroom at Stauffer-Flint Hall on the Kansas University campus. Curley was awarded the William Allen White National Citation on Friday.

February 7, 2009


AP president receives award from KU

A high-ranking official at The Associated Press received top honors today from KU. Enlarge video

The president and CEO of The Associated Press called Friday for the government to increase access to journalists on the battlefield.

“No government will give us our rights if we are not willing to stand up and fight for them,” said Tom Curley, who received the William Allen White National Citation at Kansas University on Friday.

He received the award given by the William Allen White Foundation at the Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union.

The citation is given annually to a journalist who exemplifies the ideals of White, a former publisher of the Emporia Gazette and namesake of the KU School of Journalism.

With governments spending more on public relations and propaganda, the role of the fourth estate is ever more important, he said. He cited a recent report detailing how the Department of Defense spends about $4.7 billion annually on “influence operations,” from recruiters in communities to producing television and print news stories placed in foreign media sources.

With the information control from the government, and a potential expansion of conflict looming in Afghanistan, Curley called on the military to sit down with journalists to come up with a new way to increase access to information.

“Americans understand hardships and setbacks,” he said. “They expect honest answers about what’s happening to their sons and daughters.”

He referenced a speech from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in which Curley quoted Gates as saying that it is “just plain embarrassing” that al-Qaida has a better way of getting its message out than the U.S. military.

“Does America need to resort to al-Qaida tactics?” Curley asked, wondering whether building a fake news organization and planting stories in foreign media sources were necessary.

He said The AP is an organization born of war, beginning in 1846 during the Mexican-American War. Wartime reporting remains a priority of the agency today, he said.

During a question-and-answer session following his speech, Curley noted that while some prospects for open government look good under the Obama administration compared with the Bush years, there have been setbacks as well.

He said AP photographers were denied access to President Obama’s second swearing-in ceremony. However, on the third day of the new administration, the president called for the opening of some government documents and reports.

“That gives us some encouragement,” he said.

He told the audience of mostly educators and journalists from across the state to undertake one act of journalism to honor White.

That could come in the form of an investigative story, he said, or could be something as basic as to “simply speak truth to power.”

“We are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable,” he said.

Curley joined The AP in 2003 after leaving USA Today, where he was president and publisher.


Centerville 9 years, 3 months ago

No wonder the AP is in trouble: its CEO lives in a bubble. 1. there are some very competent journalists embedded with our troops: Michael Yon and J.D. Johannes come to mind. According to them, the AP people just sit around their hotel and whine.2. freedom of the press is not given by the government. Further, the 1st amendment forbids the government trying to abridge it. All this "fighting for our rights" stuff is just a smokescreen for their insipid news coverage.

nobody1793 9 years, 3 months ago

"Fourth estate’s importance increases ..."CEO's importance decreases in proximity to Veronica Mars poster...

Flap Doodle 9 years, 3 months ago

The MSM is looking for pay-back for the invaluable assistance they rendered to the current regime during the election.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

"The AP spent most of the war in the Green Zone."Pretty much every western reporter spent the war in the Green Zone. The only ones who got out were those "imbedded" with US military units, which could only deliver very skewed and biased reporting about what was actually going.

Shardwurm 9 years, 3 months ago

The media has already shown it's inability to show prudence. The answer is NO.

Godot 9 years, 3 months ago

I think a boycott of every so-called newspaper that uses the AP is in order. That ought to either make them start seriously reporting the news instead of spouting propaganda, or put them out of business. I prefer the latter.

jmadison 9 years, 3 months ago

Has President Obama recommended that the military program spending $5 billion dollars for propaganda be cut?He is in charge now.

tunahelper 9 years, 3 months ago

there should be DECREASED access to journalists in a war. all they want to do is to be the first one telling what is going on and want to give away the American intelligence so al qaeda can go kill more Americans.look what happened in Israel during the last fight in Gaza. The Israeli command gave heads up to all the civilian population before going into Gaza. Then the liberal media went in and all they could talk about was the Israeli autrocities to the palestian civilians. hamas started the whole mess by shooting rockets into Israel. Israel is just defending themselves from pussy terrorists.all the ap wants to do is to go with American troops and record all the bad things that the Americans are doing.As to Iraq, yes the ap morons sat on their lazy butts and never went out on patrol with American soldiers. what a bunch of leftist hypocrites.We, the American people, are very fortunate to have such an awesome military. I thank Almighty God daily for such a great nation that we have and the brave men and women also that are protecting our freedoms. God bless all of you.If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank an American Soldier.

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