Iraq war proves deadliest for journalists

Transferred Tuesday to the U.S. military's largest hospital abroad, CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier remained in stable but critical condition, according to U.S. doctors in Landstuhl, Germany.

“Right now,” says Landstuhl Hospital commander Bryan Gamble, “She is doing as well as can be expected.”

But Dozier's camera crew — Britons Paul Douglas and Jim Brolan — were killed by the same roadside bomb, while embedded with the U.S. Army in Baghdad.

It underscores, yet again, the danger journalists face here on a daily basis — even the most seasoned and cautious, like Dozier.

“She was wearing all her gear,” says CBS News Vice President Linda Mason. “She was doing what she always does.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 71 journalists have died covering the war in Iraq, surpassing the number killed in World War II, Korea or Vietnam — three-quarters of them Iraqis, who often can't afford expensive, round-the-clock protection.

“Journalists are getting out and trying to report as much as they can,” says the CPJ's Ann Cooper, “but it's with a lot of constraints.”

In the early days, we moved freely and usually away from the U.S. military, who were the target. Over time, reporters came under attack by suicide bombers or kidnappers — and the military embed became the safer option.

But as NBC's Richard Engel found out during an ambush in Mosul, or when a roadside bomb just missed NBC News reporter Mike Boettcher's Humvee on patrol, south of Baghdad, there are no safe ways to cover Iraq.

“They were watching us the whole time,” Boettcher says. “And when we were standing in the right place, they hit the button.”

Even the “stand-uppers” — those pieces to camera where you see us talking to you — have become exercises in survival. Going beyond your compound exposes you to attack, but just being outdoors is dangerous. There could be snipers or mortars. So we wear protective armor even in our compounds. The danger is constant, but it’s worse for Iraqis without armor or security consultants.

That's the story Dozier, Douglas and Brolan risked all to bring home — every day.