Monday, August 11, 2008

Georgian Conflict Shows Why Geography is Important in Reporting the News

Do you know where South Ossetia is? How about Abkhazia? In reporting the news from these Georgian provinces, it's important to have an understanding of their location. Most don't even know where Georgia is let alone these war-torn provinces. Some news accounts that I've read had very simplistic maps. Others were better at indicating the geopolitical nature of the conflict such as the location of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline that leads through Georgia from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean via Turkey. It is essential that a map(See Wikipedia for a fairly good map) accompany the accounts to better inform the reader as to the nature of the conflict and why it could draw other neighboring countries into the conflict. What I've seen so far in publications ranging from the WSJ, CNN online, and USA Today, fall short of my expectations. CNN TV did show the pipeline route but the thickness of the line on screen obscured the country and provincial borders. In regions where republics once within the control of the USSR are now separate states, it is essential that the reader be provided every opportunity to understand where they are located and also about the geography of war.

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