CBS News Correspondent speaks on her time in Iraq
When CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier was injured on assignment in Iraq in 2006, doctors were unsure if she would ever walk again. However, after months of surgery, physical therapy, and top-notch medical care, Dozier was able to walk in front of a crowd at Carlow University Saturday without even a limp.
Dozier spoke at Carlow as part of the school’s Marie Torre University Lecture Series. Marie Torre was the first female television news anchor to cover “hard news” and the first journalist to be jailed for refusing to reveal a source. This year, Dozier was the recipient of the Marie Torre Award, given each year to journalists who exemplify the ideals for which Torre stood.
Dozier was introduced by Carlow President Mary Hines, who said that both Dozier and Torre use “the power of words to bring us to a fuller understanding of our shared humanity and our connection to each other.”
Before beginning her reporting career in the Middle East, where she reported on over 300 stories in Iraq, Dozier attended Wellesley College, where she was involved with political activism. She graduated in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in human rights, hoping to work overseas.
“I realized these [activists] were risking their lives trying to get The New York Times to publish [their message],” she said. “I wanted to be on the deciding end to help get the message out.”
Dozier attended the University of Virginia to obtain a master’s degree in foreign affairs. At first, she was unsure of whether to become a diplomat or a journalist; however, the first Gulf War helped make up her mind.
“Here I was reading about it while [the journalists] were over there seeing it,” she said.
After receiving her master’s degree in 1993, Dozier won an alumni grant from Wellesley and went to Cairo, where she freelanced for CBS Radio and The Washington Post. In 1996, she moved to London to work with the BBC World Service before she decided to break into television.
“I was killing myself covering these stories, but when you’re in radio, you’re there by yourself,” she said. In television, she said, there is a collaborative team.
In 2003, she was assigned to cover the war in Baghdad, her first network assignment for CBS. According to Dozier, nobody wanted to go to Baghdad; but, despite the danger of the situation and several close encounters, Dozier continued to cover the stories.
On Memorial Day 2006, Dozier and her team were heading to an area about to be handed over to Iraqi control. However, they stopped to visit a site where a car bomb had gone off the day before. When Dozier and the others with her neared the car and were within 30 feet of it, the car bomb was remotely detonated, killing cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan instantly, as well as others on site. Dozier was severely injured.
Despite the setback, Dozier was enthusiastic about the change in the media’s perception of the Middle East. While she has been criticized for showing the other side’s views and opinions of the U.S. presence in Iraq, she told the audience she continues to support her reporting methods.
“We know what we think. It’s my job to show what they think,” she said.
Dozier closed her lecture with her thoughts about how to improve the Middle East crisis.
“Within the military, there’s a growing sense of religion and culture,” she said. “You must respect the culture or you can’t help them. You have to ask where they want help. When we try to put ourselves in their shoes, we’ll be on the road to figuring out how to fix things.”