Women War Correspondents In The Vietnam War

2508 words - 11 pages

The women correspondents made up a vital part of the media during the Vietnam War. Almost three hundred American women were accredited to cover the war between the years of 1965 and 1975. About seventy-five of those women served as correspondents during the war, covering everything from human interest to combat. These women were strong, gutsy and worked hard. They worked in every journalistic medium - newspapers, magazines, wire services, and radio and television. The women worked for major news media organizations such as the Associated Press, The New York Times, ABC and NBC. They were awarded major awards for their work including a Pulitzer Prize and several George Polk awards. During ...view middle of the document...

Obviously, Vietnam was the biggest news story of that time and it made sense for a journalist to want to advance their professional career by covering such a major event. Some women went seeking the truth and to find adventure. Finally, some women followed their boyfriends over to Vietnam. Two of the nine women whose stories were documented in War Torn followed their boyfriends, one of whom was a journalist sent on assignment and the other a neonatologist. At first glance it seems a bit pathetic for these women to follow their partners to such a hostile and dangerous area but they weren't just going to be close to their partners. These women were simply trying to get into Vietnam any way they could and that was as good enough reason as any. Associated Press correspondent Tad Bartimus said, "My fondest wish was that the war would end; my second fondest was that it would wait till I got there." Kate Webb, a correspondent from Australia, decided to go because she was concerned about the lack of media coverage of the war in her country. Soldiers from Australia and New Zealand had been going to fight in Vietnam and she felt it was important for the people of those countries to learn of the events that were occurring there.Making their way to Vietnam was not easy. Often times these women didn't have the support of their family or their employers. Many women bought their own place ticket to Vietnam, sometimes as one-way tickets. They scrounged up the money wherever they could. Jurate Kazickas, a freelancer, went on the TV game show "Password" and used her $500 prize money to buy her plane ticket. Some of the women decided to quit their jobs after being told by their companies that women didn't belong in the battlefield. Those women either found jobs with other media organizations, which would allow them the freedom to go to Vietnam, or they went to Vietnam without a job and became a freelancer. Others took vacation time and decided that they wanted to see the world. Rarely, an employer would ask the woman if she wanted to cover the stories of Vietnam and would supply a travel allowance for that employee. Whatever reason they decided to go, these women were definitely excited to be heading into something so grand and challenging.Vietnam is a completely different world than the United States. These women were given little to no training and were in for quite the culture shock when they arrived in Vietnam. One woman described entering the airport when she arrived in Vietnam. She walked into a sea of a couple thousand uniformed soldiers and besides the few Vietnamese women employed by the airlines, she was the only woman. They definitely stood out in a crowd. Most of the women settled into apartments or dwellings in Saigon and worked out of their homes. The United States government provided incredible access to combat operations. The correspondents were able to fly on bombing missions, parachute into hostile territory with an airborne unit, and spend a...

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