Iraq War Reporters Face Unprecedented Danger

Journalists have been embedded with fighting forces more often and freely in the Iraq war than ever before -- and reporters assume many of the same risks as the troops they're covering.

For reporters, it is one of the hazards of the job, and they try not to be consumed with the risks or be reckless.

"It is not a matter of saying, 'I am not going to go here because it's too close to the frontline,' " said ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz, who has been embedded with troops in Iraq and covered the Pentagon.

"Anybody can get injured in Iraq," she said, "and you try not to think about that all the time. But you try to take as reasonable a risk as you possibly can."

"World News Tonight" co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt are recovering from injuries suffered when their convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device in Iraq. They had been embedded with the 4th Infantry Division, and were in a mechanized vehicle on a combined operation with Iraqi army and coalition forces when the explosive went off. The blast was followed by small arms fire.

A Matter Necessity and Safety -- and Unprecedented Access

Embedding has become a matter of necessity and safety for reporters in a war zone. Insurgent attacks -- and the threat of being kidnapped -- have made traveling with the military sometimes safer than traveling alone, despite the risks. Reporters and viewers get unprecedented access to the battlefield.

"We've gotten cameras into places where they would never have been before," said Rodney Pinder, president of The International News Safety Institute. "And I think the world's eyes have been opened to the reality of war in a way that has never happened before."

Journalists have long followed soldiers to war, from war correspondents like Ernie Pyle in World War II to those in the Vietnam War and the first Persian Gulf War. However, Iraq has been the deadliest for journalists.

"In many wars, they're organized, troops on one side or the other," said former ABC News correspondent Jim Wooten. "In Iraq, a reporter knows nothing of that -- no front, no movement of troops in one direction. Insurgents pop up, they kill, they maim, they loot, and they disappear."

Even the most experienced reporters can have a difficult time assessing the risks in such an uncertain, volatile environment.

Time magazine reporter Michael Weiskopf lost a hand in a grenade attack while traveling in a military Humvee in 2003.

"You jump into the crosshairs every time you get into a Humvee," Weiskopf said. "And you have to play the odds. Every time you go into it, the odds of getting hurt increase."