On the 40th anniversary of reunification day (04/30/1975 – 04/30/2015), I had an honor to attending a seminar with four correspondents of AP and NBC covering the war in Vietnam from the field more than four decades ago. It was interesting to hear how they covered the war and how their reports and photos were received in the US as well as in other parts of the world.Nick Ut, AP photojournalist won the Pulitzer winner with the Napalmed girl photo. His story about this photo is now featured at the Newseum (a museum about the news and journalism industry) in Washington, D.C. Edith Lederer (middle) was the first AP’s female correspondent for the war in Vietnam. The Indian lady on the far left said that she was only 10 back then and she was shocked watching the news on the war in Vietnam from India.
The first AP’s female correspondent for the war in Vietnam is also a fashionista. She’s so smart and charming. I love her dress and accessories as much as I love the stories she shared. She said being a female reporter had some advantages because it was easier to approach American soldiers who did not have much interactions with ladies. She could ask “silly questions” which often received a lot of useful information.
Peter Arnett, also an AP correspondent and Pulitzer winner for his coverage during the war in Vietnam. He shared about how he shot the photo of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burning himself to death on the street of Saigon to protest against Ngo Dinh Diem’a government. The then-US President John. F. Kennedy said in reference to one of the pictures of the monk on fire that No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one. Kennedy sent a high-ranking official to Saigon to make sure no more monk unrest and monk burning on the street.
American and Southern Vietnamese war reporters often wore outfits similar to military uniforms so that they could mingle with American troops in the jungle. They never had any chance to interview the Northern Vietnamese military – the Viet Cong (VC). “The only interaction with them was on the battlefield when they were shooting at us,” said George Lewis of NBC.