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Embeds Find Facts: Pew Study

Washington— A study of the reports generated by embedded journalists in the war in Iraq concludes that the overwhelming number of stories from the frontlines are primarily factual, according to The Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The PEJ study found embedded coverage "lacks context but it is usually rich in detail. It has all the virtues and vices of reporting only what you can see."

Although the reports came from active battle areas, "not a single story examined showed pictures of people being hit by fired weapons." Yet, the report found, "too often the rush to get information on air live created confusion, errors and even led journalists to play the game of 'Telephone,' in which partial accounts become distorted and exaggerated in the retelling." So far, the report said, embedded reporting suggests that "the war is less like reality television than [it is like] reality itself—confusing, incomplete, sometimes numbing, sometimes intense, and not given to simple story lines."

War Hurts Syndie Ratings

Los Angeles— War coverage during the week ended March 23 hurt syndicated shows and preempted many of them.

After war broke out, the audiences for cable news networks shot up: 208% for CNN, 167% for MSNBC and 137% for Fox News Channel.

Conversely, syndication tanked. "Dating" shows took some of the hardest blows, because their late-night clearances meant they weren't preempted, although fewer viewers watched them. Universal's Blind Date
topped the genre but was down 25% to a 1.5. As for off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Friends
regained the lead over Sony's Seinfeld, despite falling 17% to a 5.9. The biggest decline among talkers was NBC Enterprises' The John Walsh Show, which fell 28% to a 1.3. It was preempted twice.