Former ABC World News anchor Bob Woodruff told a crowd of journalists Thursday that he has decided not to return to Iraq in the near term.
Woodruff, who suffered a serious head wound in an attack while covering the war in Iraq last January, said he had been thinking about going back to Iraq. He pointed out that he had been in Iraq six times, five since the war began and once before.
He said in all that time and in all the wars he had covered, his wife had not really challenged him except one time in 2005 "when I really wanted to go to Fallujah in 2005 and she broke into tears because there is so much danger over there. It was the only time in my life when she said 'please don't go.' Now she has told me: 'Please don't go to Iraq.
"So, I think for the first time I'm going to tell my wife I'm not going to go back to Iraq, at least for now," he said, and was greeted by understanding applause from the crowd.
Woodruff, who was receiving the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation, said he wanted to thank the doctors and soldiers who had saved him, including the helicopter pilots who had ignored warnings of danger to get him out.
Woodruff advocated for more global reporting, and not just on global warming, but reporting that connects countries and people.
The Zeidenberg award is named after the former B&C chief correspondent. Dozier shared the award with CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier, who was herself severely wounded in an attack in Iraq last May.
Dozier said she did plan to return to covering the war. "To all of you in Iraq, Iraqis and the international corp, I hope to join you--not right away--but sometime soon," she said.
Dozier said journalists are increasingly being targeted in Iraq. "Many of those who once welcomed the chance to talk to the international press corps now see us as symbols to be targeted,"she said. "While she said some had blamed the military's embed program, she put the blame elsewhere.
"I place more blame probably on the Internet," she said, "Simply put, we're not as indispensable as we once were to reach an international audience. Whoever they happen to be who want to get the story out don't come to us anymore, they come to the Web."
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