Cover: Reporters on the Battlefield

Reporters on the Battlefield

The Embedded Press System in Historical Context

Published Nov 23, 2004

by Christopher Paul, James J. Kim


Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.8 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback174 pages $20.00

Clear differences between the missions and goals of the press and those of the military, particularly centering around the issues of access and operational security, make historical tensions between the two unsurprising and complete avoidance of tension unlikely. However, significant overlaps, including core goals of professionalism and public service, make cooperation a reasonable possibility. This book traces the back-and-forth interactions between the press and the military over the past several decades. In Vietnam, the press enjoyed high levels of access to events, largely because of the relatively amicable relationship that had developed between the press and the military, particularly in World War II. However, this relationship experienced a significant shift during the Vietnam War-news coverage critical of both the war and the military engendered tensions. The legacy of these tensions significantly influenced military-press relations in later operations in Grenada, Panama, and the first Gulf War. Another notable shift occurred during the first Gulf War, however, establishing the basis for new kinds of press access, which ultimately led to the embedded press system used in the second Gulf War. The outcomes and goals for the press and the military are also explored in relation to each other and those for the public.

"Christopher Paul and James J. Kim, both with the RAND Corporation, trace the lineage of the military-press relationship over the past several decades in 'Reporters On The Battlefield: The Embedded Press System in Historical Context', with a particular focus on the embedded press in Iraq and how information was disseminated by both sides in wartime… This research, compelling and concise, offers an informative read on the sometimes tumultuous military-press relations and how those tensions have been eased with the embedded press system. And with hostilities in Iraq and elsewhere seemingly far from over, both parties still have plenty of opportunities to learn from firsthand experience."


"Throughout, Paul and Kim (both researchers at the nonprofit RAND Corporation) assess the very different goals of reporters and the military as one of the sources of the tension between the two. They make numerous suggestions for future use of embedded reporters and other approaches such as press pools to facilitate press coverage without limiting military actions. Though brief, this is a highly useful synthesis of a relationship that is widely debated but little understood. Essential. All collections; all levels."

- CHOICE, July 2005

This report results from the RAND Corporation’s continuing program of self-initiated research. Support for such research is provided, in part, by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND’s contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.