Fill-in-the-Blank Foreign Correspondent

Tom Grant has uncovered the secret form issued to American journalists for writing stories about civilians in war-torn lands:

___________ has lived in the village of ___________ for all [his/her] life. That was, until war came to the village. Today, ___________ lives in [a refugee camp/fear].

“I don’t know where I’ll go, or what I’ll do,” ______________ said, clutching his ___________, a treasured keepsake. “Nowhere is safe.”

___________ story is all too familiar, in this war that has claimed over ___________ lives. With the failure of negotiations between ___________ and ___________, there is no end to the violence in sight.

Still, ___________ clings to hope. “Every day I pray for peace,” [he/she] said. “It’s all I can do.”

It certainly gets a lot of use.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. That does look pretty familiar..

  2. Nick says:

    Aha! That’s why all the reports look the same…

  3. You know the NYT may be able to show a slightly better bottom line if they applied a little automation. How hard would it be to link up this form with a database of personal names, place names and unique local possessions.

    Add in an automatic feed for taking press releases from the democrats and you can probably cut 75% of their reporting staff.

  4. Maggie says:

    Stateside it was the basis for journalists covering NOLA after Katrina! Just change “failure of negotiations” to read “failure of FEMA” and you pretty much have the working propaganda line.