In an entry article on his embed, Michael Yon wrote, “and most people tasked today with naming a “living war correspondent” would come up blank.”
I hope that’s not true of anyone who reads Michael Yon. He’s right up there with Ernie Pyle and Ernest Hemingway in my opinion, even if he does have the wrong first name.
Note: I didn’t realize he had referenced just those two in the same paragraph of that article till I went back to look at it. But they’re my favorites of all time. I own several books by both and did my thesis on Hemingway. I can’t name any other war correspondents of that time period right off hand. I have a favorite Civil War correspondent, own his books, but can’t remember his name and I’m too lazy to get up.
But if you want to read about war correspondents, I found a great bibliography.
I came to write this post before finishing the article because I was so astounded by the idea that some might not know the name of a living war correspondent. Later on in his post, which I still haven’t finished reading yet, he says, “I am not a war correspondent or journalist.”
According to Answers.com a war correspondent is “A journalist, reporter, or commentator assigned to report directly from a war or combat zone.”
Now, I know Michael Yon is a commentator. And I know he is in a war. So the only part of that definition he might not match is “assigned to report.” But you know, he is assigned to report it. He’s assigned by himself. Which he says in the same paragraph. “I am only a writer who came to Iraq after it became apparent that we might be in trouble, and I did not trust the news. ” He assigned himself to cover the news.
Michael Yon is what a war correspondent ought to be, a man of integrity who gets close to those he covers and gives the gritty reality a human face. I’ve talked over and over again with individuals and with my college students about his article when he was involved with a firefight and he grabbed a gun.