How Did Photojournalism Effect The Vietnam War?

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Emma Ternes Heidi Eichbauer Intro. to Interdisciplinary Study October 25, 2014 How Did Photojournalism Effect the Vietnam War? The Vietnam War was an extremely controversial power struggle between the United States’ and the communist forces of Northern Vietnam. The U.S. was making attempts at controlling the spread of communism in the East but instead of quickly resolving the situation as they originally thought possible they spent over twenty years fighting in the jungles of the country, losing many soldiers and causing the deaths of many innocent civilians. The American people relied on the brave photographers who travelled to the East and sent back images showing the true colors of the war to form a complete picture of the actual events…show more content…
Never before had the military offered freelance photographers press passes to go to the combat zone in Vietnam and photograph the war reasonably safely and from many different aspects and perspectives. Photographers from Life magazine, Newsweek magazine, United Press International, Associated Press, and an onslaught of freelance workers migrated to the country to capture the bloody horrors of the war and bring back shocking pictures to use and sell to the newsmakers (Kennedy). Although gruesome, this gave the reporters and photojournalists a kind of freedom that was not previously allowed in war and helped decrease pro-war propaganda; before this the government had strictly regulated the content of what the population was being shown and therefor controlled the opinions of many…show more content…
In her book “Regarding the Pain of Others” Susan Sontag writes about the “understanding of war among people who have not experienced war” (Sontag, page 19) and how that had before clouded American’s perceptions of the violence war truly creates. This very real drama had an immediate response and caused a mass demand for photos with intense action. This was also the first time the United States had been given a chance to humanize the enemy as most previous wars took place across the ocean and the government was easily able to control the content of the information being relayed to the United States. The people began to lose their trust for the media and government and could no longer sit idly by as a war raged on the other side of the world. Not only were the citizens in the West changed by this new source but reporters developed a new sense of responsibility to give true and factual pictures to the people regardless of what the government considered necessary to share. This honest style paved the way for the photojournalists in the 70’s and 80’s (Kennedy) and opened the door to a whole new way of presenting

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