Journ Student Jess

Student journalist looking for feedback on assignments and journalism in general

The New York Times presents “Iraq: 10 Years and Counting” (news video commentary)

with 2 comments

A destroyed Iraqi tank rests on the roadside, a reminder of the invasion of Baghdad and its ensuing chaos.The New York Times took a look at the country Iraq, 10 years after the invasion of Baghdad by American troops, in this news video available on their website, in the “Video” section. It begins with an address from President George Bush from 2003, followed by footage of civilians talking about their experiences in the capitol since then. It was produced by Channon Hodge, Tim Arango, Duraid Adnan, and Stephen Ferrell.

The story was short, to the point and posed the question of whether the war in Iraq was worth fighting for. The news team received a quick and overwhelmingly negative answer from local sources. I could see how this story would be told through video, since it is important to capture the environment and scenery of Baghdad. The city is still damaged and many of the residents are out of jobs or hope. Their faces and expressions of despair and worry are lasting images, meant to make viewers feel and focus on them as central characters in the story of Baghdad. There is human emotion, action involving video taken in the city and many informative sources in this story.

After re-watching the news video, I believe it did have a clear narrative and followed a timeline of events in Iraq, with a focus on the end results to cap off the story. The beginning set the scene for the first sparks in Iraq; Bush’s address and footage of air strikes served as reminders of how the invasion began. The middle is told through photos of the ensuing battles and responses from foreign reporters covering Baghdad. I thought the best part of this video was the end, when the residents of the city talked about how nothing has changed. The viewer is left with a profound feeling, hearing how people’s lives may not have worsened since Saddam Hussein was toppled but have not improved either.

The sound and visual you first see once you click “play,” is President George Bush, announcing then-leader of Iraq Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave the country within 48 hours, prompting the invasion of Baghdad. The story is told through a voice-over narration by a New York Times reporter, interviews with Baghdad residents and journalists who covered the invasion. A variety of shots and sequences were used, including close-ups or portraits of the sources, detail shots of carnage after a gun battle in Baghdad and wide-angle shots of the city. B-roll consisted of shots around the city, traffics and markets and people walking around and included natural sound, giving cultural and language cues to the viewer.

Sources were identified in the lower third and I felt that pacing was appropriate and I was able to identify who was speaking at the right time. The video is over three minutes long but goes fast because it covers such a wide span of time. It does go from a perspective of the military retreat from Baghdad right into how residents feel after the invasion which was a bit jarring.

What I liked about this video was that it captured the real emotions of Baghdad residents, along with military and media commentary. It was an excellent story package with all the elements necessary; a clear topic, authentic sources and powerful imagery. This video accomplished its goal of giving viewers the full force of how Baghdad is after the invasion. I would have put more live video of the city right after the invasion but I understand that for time’s sake it could have been edited out to save room for other elements.


Written by hayne2jr

March 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. The video is a pretty good video about a hot topic. I like how the video makes note that just because Americans are out of Iraq it doesn’t mean all is fixed for Iraq. Technically I think this a really great video too. Unlike my story, yours has a good amount of natural sounds. Even something as simple as traffic and sirens gives off a sense of chaos in a subtle way. Also, you did a great job writing up your piece about the story. Your writing doesn’t feel robotic, which is awesome. Plus you even give directions on how to get to the video, double awesome. Good job!


    March 23, 2013 at 1:00 am

  2. i enjoyed this video, the intro especially. the intro is such a historical moment for our generation. i also enjoy how straight to the point this video is. considering the title includes ‘Ten Years and Counting,’ a three and a half minute video is quite impressive. your write up compliments the video in that sense as well, short and sweet, covering the bases. keep it up.


    March 23, 2013 at 6:18 pm

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