Nicholls State University has announced on its website that it will be hosting a lecture with award-winning correspondent, Bronze Star recipient and best-selling author Joseph Galloway on campus later this month. Nicholls frequently hosts poets, authors, presenters and experts in order to better serve and educate not only its students and staff but the public. However, rarely has Nicholls seen such a decorated and awarded hero and journalist as Galloway.
Galloway plans to elaborate on his experiences as a civilian journalist during the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War, as well as the ethical dilemmas of being involved in a war. This topic is sure to generate many questions from the audience but don’t fret, Galloway has agreed to engage in a question-and-answer session will follow his presentation.
Also a Southerner, he is a native of Refugio, Texas, Galloway is an award-winning correspondent, columnist and best-selling author. He spent much of his five decades as a reporter with United Press International, reporting from all over the world such as Kansas City, Tokyo, Vietnam, Jakarta, New Delhi, Singapore, Moscow and Los Angeles.
Galloway knows first hand the danger and necessity of war journalism and is prepared to describe his experiences in this one of a kind question/answer format. The Ethical Journalism Network, which aims to strengthen the capacity of media professionals to report in an accurate, fair and humane way, discusses these subjects in length, arguing that in times of war people need more access to reliable information. It discusses in detail not only the ethical dilemma of War Journalists, but also the grave importance of their job. It states that since the “communications revolution, the world has become more connected and people are closer to the frontlines than they have ever been, but they struggle to find unbiased and reliable information when the news agenda is crowded out by intolerance and war-mongering.
Reporting conflict provides the greatest ethical challenge to journalists. It is not easy to maintain the highest professional standards and there are many shocking examples of media failure and even complicity in acts of violence and inhumanity as shown by the genocide in Rwanda, war in the Balkans and grotesque propaganda around the Ukraine conflict.
Nevertheless, journalists must do what they can to avoid hate speech and inflammatory coverage. But how is that done in the heat of battle? Quality journalism is vital for people to:
-Better understand the roots and reality of conflict;
-Create an information space for dialogue;
-Provide context and analysis that may open the door to reconciliation and peace.
Without accurate and sensitive reporting that provides insights into the mindsets of all those involved, people cannot make judgements and potentially influence the course of events by giving or withholding their support for the conflict.
But in times of war, all sides engaged in conflict do so without any sense of balance – no one says the other side probably believes their cause is just, or acknowledges the bravery of enemy soldiers. They abandon notions of fairness and objectivity and use propaganda and lies to demonise the enemy, its leadership and its people. Journalists have a responsibility to counter this threat.”
Nicholls State immediately recognized the unique information a person like Galloway would have to share with others and jumped on the opportunity to have him speak. Dr. James Stewart, Nicholls mass communication department head said, “I’ve read his book, and I’m a big fan of the book, so for me it will be great to meet him. But this is also an excellent opportunity for our students to hear directly from someone who has gone through that experience. This event is an effort of our students, our Veterans and our mass communication department. It’s really great when various segments of the Nicholls community can come together to make something like this happen.” Nicholls loves an opportunity to collaborate between student organizations.
One leader of a student organization, Gilberto Burbante, coordinator for veterans services at Nicholls stated “During my time with the military, I worked with embedded reporters and I couldn’t imagine those reporters putting down their cameras or notepads and picking up a rifle to survive. I’m excited to have him at Nicholls and to hear him share his experiences.” He is just one among many students excited for this special glimpse into the journalistic world.
Galloway and Lt. Gen. Harold Moore together co-authored the 1992 best-seller, “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young.” The book was the basis for the 2002 film, “We Were Soldiers.” This compelling drama tells the true tale of the first major battle between United States and North Vietnamese. It is a film about loyalty among soldiers, uncommon valor and nobility under fire, and the heroism and sacrifice of men and women both home and abroad. The movie has been described as one of the most brutally violent movies ever released, with up-close, graphic, and relentless violence and the deaths of many characters. It could be said that his is the most realistic representation of war that has ever been put to film but, of course, this film is not suitable for young children. If you or someone you know is interested in journalism or, more specifically, war journalism, this film is very highly recommended.
Galloway received a Bronze Star in 1998 to recognize his heroic actions during the 1965 Battle of la Drang. The Bronze Star award is a United States decoration awarded only to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.Covering the Vietnam War as a journalist, Galloway bravely risked his own safety to assist wounded soldiers. Galloway has witnessed things most of us could never dream of. By authoring his books and helping with the film versions, he hopes to give the general public a more visual representation of what it means to engage in war from several perspectives.
Together, Moore and Galloway wrote a sequel in 2008 titled “We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam.” In this novel, they return to Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley more than forty years after the battle they recalled in their #1 New York Times bestseller We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young. Renewing their relationships with ten American veterans of the fabled conflict—and with former adversaries—the authors explore how the war changed them all, as well as their two countries. We Are Soldiers Still is an emotional journey back to hallowed ground, putting a human face on warfare as the authors reflect on war’s devastating cost.
Galloway has been a recipient of several prestigious awards for his bravery, character, and clout, including the National Magazine Award in 1991, the New Media Award of the National VFW in 1992, the Robert Denig Award for Exceptional Service of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Assn. in 2002 and the Tex McCrary Award of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in 1995. These, among others, are even more proof of Galloway’s brave choices in the face of unthinkable violence and death.
Besides authoring and partnering with filmmakers, Galloway has since worked as a special consultant for the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Vietnam War 50th anniversary Commemoration project and served as a consultant on Ken Burns’ 2017 documentary on the Vietnam War.
This event is open to the public and is no cost. It will be at 1 p.m. on Nov. 30 in the Mary and Al Danos Theater. A reception with hors-d’oeuvres and drinks will be held before the event.
Sponsors include several student organizations on campus such as the Nicholls Veterans Organization, Student Government Association and Student Programming Association.