White House press secretary Jay Carney listens during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May, 14, 2013.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
May 16, 2013

Subpoena of AP Records Revives Media Shield Bill

The controversy over the government's secret subpoena of Associated Press telephone records has revived legislation that would protect journalists from having to reveal their sources to federal investigators, and the White House is endorsing the idea.

The proposal wouldn't provide blanket protection for a journalist from having to reveal who he or she spoke to confidentially. But the government would have to convince a federal judge that the confidential source had compromised national security in speaking to the journalist.

President Barack Obama told reporters on Thursday that now is a good time to revisit the so-called shield bill.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York says he'll reintroduce the media shield bill he had pursued unsuccessfully four years ago.


May 15, 2013

White House Releases Trove of Benghazi Documents

Under mounting pressure, President Barack Obama has released a trove of documents related to the Benghazi attack and forced out the top official at the Internal Revenue Service following revelations that the agency targeted conservative political groups.

The moves are aimed at halting a growing perception among both White House opponents and allies that the president has been passive and disengaged as controversies consume his second term.

The White House also asked Congress to revive a media shield law that would protect journalists from having to reveal information. The step is seen as a response to the Justice Department subpoenas of phone records from reporters and editors at The Associated Press.

The flurry of activity signaled a White House anxious to regain control amid the trio of deepening controversies.


David Inge and Doyle Moore
(Sean Powers/WILL)
May 15, 2013

Doyle Moore, WILL's "Chef-in-Residence," Dies

Doyle Moore, long known as WILL’s “Chef-in-Residence,” has passed away at the age of 82.

Close friends say he died at his home in Champaign.

Moore taught graphic design at the University of Illinois for more than 30 years. He also taught a U of I course in material folk culture in the 1970s.

Starting in 1982 until last year, he could be heard on WILL’s Focus program on the first Wednesday of the month. He had been the show's longest serving regular guest.

When the show first went on the air, the station could not have phone guests, but instead needed a person physically in the studio.

"We were always looking for good local people to be on the show, and one day someone said let's do a cooking show," said David Inge, a longtime former host of Focus.

Doyle's name popped up as a possible guest to field questions on all things cooking.

"(Doyle) just laughed," Inge said. "You're going to do a cooking show on the radio? He said, 'What are you going to do, play the sound of bacon frying or something?' So, he thought that was pretty funny, but he was willing to take it on."

Moore came to the studio with a stack of reference books, figuring he would be trying to troubleshoot cooking problems for callers. He found himself talking to an elderly woman who called to tell him the secret of making good rye bread.

“She said you had to use goat milk and she milked her own goats to get it. I was so overwhelmed and delighted by her,” Doyle recounted in a 2001 interview.

“I was terrified and skeptical,” he added. “I didn’t know how in the world we could do cooking on the radio...Between my audacity and David’s wisdom and skill, we have made the show one of the most popular programs on Focus."

Doyle admitted that he learned to cook “in self defense” as a bachelor, and he gave a lot of credit to his sisters for teaching him. Inge remembered Doyle always talking about the chili his mother used to make, but being frustrating that he did not know how to get the recipe just right.

"One day, we were doing a chili show, and someone called in and said this is how you do it," Inge said. "He thought in fact that was the way his mother did it, and he was just overjoyed because he felt he had recovered something special from his childhood that he hadn't been able to find. That was something a listener gave him, and I think that was something he always remembered."

In a 2001 interview, Moore said his favorite type of food to cook was Thai food, although he acknowledged that he did a really good job preparing Indian cuisine.

“I cook that with no fear and almost no recipes,” he said.

Beyond the recipes, Inge said the thing that really interested Moore was hearing people's stories when they called into the show, describing the traditions that went along with certain kinds of food.

"He was very interested in people's personal stories, and he was good at drawing those out," Inge said. "One thing I would say about Doyle is that he was a natural."

Linda Ballard owns Art Mart in Urbana, and she has known Moore since 1962, meeting him shortly after coming to Champaign-Urbana. Her husband took a class taught by Moore.

For years from the early 1960s to 2013, Ballard said she and a group of friends would regularly have dinners, picnics, and parties with Moore. Sometimes they would travel to other cities, but they usually kept their meetings local.

"Food was very important, and we would try a lot of different things," Ballard said. "You know, usually somebody would bring one thing or the other, but sometimes we would do all of it."

Her final conversation with Moore last week was about food, when he called her for some advice about making perogies.

In addition to his love for cooking, friends remember Moore as someone who had many interests from traveling to quilt making to printing books to learning about Japanese Culture.

"I could write pages about Doyle," Ballard explained. "He just was remarkable in his interests and his enthusiasm."

One person who considered Moore a mentor is Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud, the director of Japan House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She remembers Moore as 'Doyle Sensei' because of his love for Japanese culture and his continued involvement with Japan House.

Gunji-Ballsrud said Moore became immersed in Japanese culture in his twenties when he was in the military and stationed in Japan.

"He took advantage of every moment that he was there to learn about the Japanese way of tea, Japanese flower arrangement," Gunji-Ballsrud explained. "When he came back here and was teaching graphic design, it was infused with that experience."

When Japan House opened in the 1970s under the guidance of Shozo Sato, Gunji-Ballsrud said Moore began teaching a tea class that was available to anyone who wanted to sign up. He continued teaching the class for about 40 years.

"He was able to teach us the various tea ceremonies, and we talked a lot about the philosophies behind the way of tea," she said. "He was just a wealth of knowledge."

In later years, Moore also taught a Japanese aesthetics class through the U of I, where he would talk about tea, gardening, architecture, or cooking.

About a year and a half ago, Moore sold his beloved printing press for a kiln that is used to make Kogo, which is an incense container for Japanese tea ceremonies. Gunji-Ballsrud said Moore recognized that Japan House had a shortage of Kogos, and so he made more than a hundred new containers.

She said in the fall, a group of 16 tea teachers from Japan visited Japan House, and Moore also made Kogos for each of them.

"Two weeks ago he received a letter from one of those tea teachers, and a slew of photos showing that they were using this Kogo," Gunji-Ballsrud said. "He raced to Japan House to tell me about it. He was so thrilled."

"What a renaissance man; he knew and did everything," she added. "He lived his life to the fullest. I can tell you that."

Funeral arrangements have not been set.


Attorney General Eric Holder
(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
May 14, 2013

Eric Holder: AP Leak 'Very Serious'

US Attorney General Eric Holder has said the leak that prompted the seizure of Associated Press (AP) phone records put the US at risk.

The AP has said the justice department secretly seized records of outgoing calls from more than 20 phone lines.

The seizure is believed to be linked to a probe into whether an AP story about a foiled terror plot was based on a leak of classified information.

The news agency called the seizure a "massive and unprecedented intrusion".

On Tuesday, Mr Holder said he had removed himself early on from the investigation that led to the records subpoena out of "an abundance of caution", because he wanted to avoid any conflict of interest.

He said he had been interviewed by the FBI in June 2012 in connection with the investigation into a possible leak of classified information.

'No possible justification'

The phone records were obtained for April and May last year, covering a period when AP published an article about a CIA operation in Yemen disrupting an al-Qaeda plot to blow up a US-bound airplane around the anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

The May 2012 story was potentially embarrassing to the US authorities, coming shortly after they had informed the public there was nothing to suggest any such attack had been planned, say correspondents.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the attorney general said: "I have been a prosecutor since 1976 and I have to say that this is among, if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that I have ever seen.

"It put the American people at risk, and that is not hyperbole. It put the American people at risk. And trying to determine who was responsible for that I think required very aggressive action."

He told reporters the decision to go ahead with the Associated Press records subpoena was taken under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General James Cole after he removed himself from the inquiry.

The justice department has provided no specific explanation for the scope of the seizure. AP chief executive Gary Pruitt wrote in a letter there could be "no possible justification for such an overbroad collection".

In a response to Mr Pruitt on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney James Cole said such records were only subpoenaed after "all other reasonable investigative steps have been taken".

He said in the AP case this had included "conducting over 550 interviews and reviewing tens of thousands of documents".

Mr Cole said the content of the calls had not been part of the seizure.

Records for the phone lines of five reporters and an editor who were involved in the AP story were among those obtained.

AP said the seizure of records included general switchboard numbers and a fax line at its offices in New York, Hartford, in Connecticut, Washington DC and the US House of Representatives.

The story has prompted fierce criticism from both Republicans and President Barack Obama's Democrats in Washington, raising questions about how the White House is balancing the need for national security with privacy rights.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier on Tuesday that Mr Obama had no knowledge of the justice department's actions on the AP subpoena other than what he had read in press reports.

Mr Carney said: "I can tell you that the president feels strongly that we need... the press to be able to be unfettered in its pursuit of investigative journalism.

"And he is also mindful of the need for secret and classified information to remain secret and classified in order to protect our national security interests."

News organisations are typically notified in advance if the government seeks such information and are given time to negotiate or go to court to block the seizure. The AP says it was first informed of the matter on Friday after the fact.

The Obama administration has aggressively investigated disclosures of classified information to the media, bringing more cases against people suspected of leaking such material than any previous administration, correspondents say.

Mr Holder himself appointed two US attorneys to investigate leaks related to national security, including the Yemen plot and cyberwarfare revelations in June 2012.

Some Republicans criticised the move as not enough, calling for the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor.


Associated Press office
(Jon Elswick/AP)
May 13, 2013

Justice Department Secretly Obtains AP Phone Records

The Associated Press is protesting what it calls a massive and unprecedented intrusion into its gathering of news.

The target of that wrath is the U.S. Justice Department, which secretly collected phone records for several AP reporters last year. The AP says it's caught in the middle of a Justice Department leak investigation.

The scope of the Justice Department subpoenas is what gives David Schultz, a lawyer for AP, pause.

"It was a very large number of records that were obtained, including phone records from Hartford, New York, Washington, from the U.S. House of Representatives and elsewhere where AP has bureaus. It included home and cellphone numbers from a number of AP reporters," Schulz says.

It's not clear what the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., is investigating. But the AP thinks it might be related to its story from May 2012 that described the CIA stopping a terrorist plot to plant a bomb on an airplane with a sophisticated new kind of device.

How that story came to be is the subject of a criminal leak investigation. But the AP says the Justice Department might now be flouting the First Amendment to try to build a case.

"This sort of activity really amounts to massive government monitoring of the actions of the press, and it really puts a dagger at the heart of AP's news-gathering activities," Schulz says.

The phone records don't include the substance of the calls — they're just a written tally of who called whom and how long the calls lasted.

Justice Department officials didn't want to talk on tape. But a spokesman for Ron Machen, the U.S. attorney in D.C., said he follows laws and Justice Department rules.

What are those rules?

For starters, the attorney general himself needs to sign off on a subpoena to a reporter. And prosecutors must demonstrate that they made every effort to get the information in other ways before even turning to the press.

But those rules also say prosecutors need to notify the media organization in advance unless that would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.

David Schulz, the lawyer for AP, says the guidelines for the Justice Department's dealings with reporters date back to a dark time.

"They were put into place after Watergate, when everyone was very alarmed by the abuses and excesses of the Nixon Justice Department in subpoenaing reporters and trying to get information about their sources and activities," he says.

Three years ago, the Justice Department's inspector general found evidence that the FBI was getting phone records from The Washington Post and The New York Times in the Bush administration without following those guidelines.

Now lawmakers from both political parties are asking the Obama administration tough questions.

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, a fierce critic of the administration, said the Justice Department is behaving like it's above the law.

Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, who normally defends the Obama White House, said he's troubled and wants an explanation.

As for the civil liberties community?

"I think my first reaction to this story is shock," says Ben Wizner, a lawyer at the ACLU. "This looks like a fishing expedition. And even if the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of a leak, this kind of subpoena has to be a last resort and can't possibly be as broad as this one."

The last time phone records for a reporter were the focus of a secret subpoena was back in 2001, in a case that involved a different AP reporter.

Back then, former Justice Department prosecutor Victoria Toensing said this on PBS NewsHour: "You shouldn't get a story that violates the law, and if you do, then the government should take all steps to see that that doesn't happen again so people have confidence in their judicial system."

This Justice Department will have a chance to explain itself later this week when Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill.

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immigration rally
(Ross D. Franklin/AP)
May 09, 2013

In Newsrooms, Some Immigration Terms Are Going Out of Style

Journalists make choices all the time that influence our understanding of the news — the choice of what stories to cover, which people to interview, which words to use. And major news organizations have been reconsidering how best to describe a group of people whose very presence in this country breaks immigration law.

News organizations as institutions often decide which terms to use in describing contentious subjects, then codify them in what are called stylebooks. They are subject to change just as society's views change. Just consider terms used to describe race in this country.

"It goes back to the Garden of Eden," says former New York Times and Washington Post reporter Roberto Suro. "Naming is the first power that humans got and it's still the most powerful that the human intellect received from its creator."

Now a scholar at the University of Southern California, Suro says that when it comes to describing people who are in this country illegally, the media are reflecting the times.

"News organizations are kind of struggling. I believe they are reflecting what's happening in society, where what we see in the political arena is a society that's trying to sort out how to think about these people and where they belong in our society."

Protesters demonstrate in downtown Orlando, Fla., on May 1, 2006. Most news outlets have long abandoned the use of the term Moving Toward A Fuller Description

As Congress debates the merits of creating a quicker means for people here illegally to obtain citizenship, several major news outlets have shifted their policies. In April, the Associated Press decided the word "illegal" should only be used to describe actions, not people — the issue of illegal immigration, rather than illegal immigrants.

At the Los Angeles Times, Assistant Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann noticed reporters were writing articles where they did not use the term "illegal immigrant" even though it was preferred.

Fuhrmann oversees standards as well as the paper's copy editing desk, which enforces those standards.

"I thought we either had to affirm our style and try to apply it more regularly or in fact listen to the voice of the newsroom as we're listening to the voices outside the newsroom and say maybe it was time for a fresh start."

Fuhrmann himself is the son of an American father and a Japanese mother. He was born in Japan while his father served in the Navy, and years after moving to the U.S. his mother became a naturalized citizen. He recalls asking one reporter which terms he used in his coverage.

"He found, to his surprise, that he would use 'illegal immigrant' if he was talking to, say, advocates of, say, stricter border control and he would use 'undocumented immigrant' if he was talking more to those being described."

The Los Angeles Times changed its policy, dropping both "illegal immigrants" and "undocumented immigrants" for a fuller description of those people. The New York Times has not abandoned "illegal immigrant" but encourages deeper characterization — a position shared by NPR.

A Politically Loaded Decision

Mickey Kaus of the right-of-center website The Daily Caller has been critical of pushes to relax immigration restrictions. He says journalists are bending to ideological pressure.

"It's heavily politically loaded," he says. "I think 'illegal immigrants' is really quite a clear phrase. It's so clear that President Obama used it when he was trying to make himself clear in a speech. He later apologized, but the fact that he used it implies that it is a very useful shorthand, as are all words, for what you're talking about."

Kaus says news organizations are tying themselves in knots to not offend Latino activists, Latino consumers and the advertisers who hope to reach them.

"Now we have this theory that no one word can possibly describe the inevitable state of being, whatever it is. Maybe it should be an unpronounceable symbol like Prince, 'cause we don't dare give it a name. Language is supposed to give things names and I don't think 'illegal immigrant' is that offensive a name."

Failing To Sidestep The Debate

The Fox News Channel has some particularly interesting contortions on the subject. In late April, while filling in for Sean Hannity, Monica Crowley went old-school and used the term "illegals." Fox News' preferred term is "illegal immigrant," though anchor Shepard Smith will sometimes use the phrase "undocumented immigrant." In March of last year, Bryan Llenas, a reporter for Fox News' sister website, Fox News Latino, told Fox viewers why the issue is charged for Hispanics.

"Nine in 10 support the DREAM Act; 85 percent support undocumented workers working in this country. And if you ask them whether they prefer the word 'illegal' versus 'undocumented,' a majority of them believe that the word 'illegal,' the term 'illegal immigrant,' is offensive."

That's why Fox News Latino doesn't use it. USC's Suro says journalists are attempting to sidestep the raging political debate — but they can't avoid getting swept up in it.

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same-sex marriage ceremony
(Chris Park/AP)
March 30, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage and the Evolving Language of Love

As the legality of same-sex marriage is debated, so is terminology.

In 1982, advice columnist Dear Abby published a letter from someone who'd just moved from a conservative Midwestern town to bohemian Portland, Ore.

Suddenly the advice seeker was interacting with gay couples and wanted to know: Should a letter be addressed to "Mr. John Doe and Friend?'"

Is it proper to say, "This is so-and-so and his lover"?

The writer went on: "'Would it be proper to introduce a gay couple as, 'Mr. Jones and his live-in friend, companion, or partner?' "

Abby advised the writer to ignore labels.

But 30 years later, straight and gay people are still struggling with the same questions.

"Each of these terms has its own problems," says Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com. "For instance, 'partner' sounds very official or contractual. 'Companion' sounds unromantic or even euphemistic. 'Lover' might just be too explicit. 'Boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' are inappropriate for a lot of people, unless they're a teenager."

When the love that dare not speak its name finally opens its mouth, people can get tripped up on the words.

Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress, has been with the same woman for 25 years. She says she often uses the word "spouse," because it describes a relationship people understand.

"Friends of mine introduced themselves to a senator as 'partners,' and the senator immediately thought that they were business partners and made a comment, and then they had to quickly correct him," she says. "I remember that quite vividly."

'No, We're Both Husbands'

Now that some states allow gay people to marry, the words "husband" and "wife" are part of the lexicon.

The terms are unambiguous, but their usage is novel. And that sometimes catches people off guard.

Steve Kleinedler, executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary, married his husband in 2004 and then suddenly lost him in a fatal accident five years later.

"The funeral director — very innocently and not meaning to offend at all ... was stymied by the form. She turned to me and says, 'Well, which one of you is the wife?' And you know, I kindly explained, 'No, we're both husbands,' " he says.

A few months earlier, Kleinedler had updated the definitions of "marriage," "husband" and "widower" to encompass same-sex couples. When the new edition of the dictionary came out, Kleinedler saw himself in those words.

Today, people may be taken aback when a man mentions his husband or a woman introduces her wife. But retired Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who married his husband last year, believes the words will sound normal in no time.

"Maybe because I was in politics I've stayed in touch with a lot of younger people, but even among people my own age, I have not found that very widespread," Frank says. "The whole point of this is that we are not subject to the same gender roles. And by the way, these days, even wives aren't wives in that sense."

'A Natural Progression'

The Associated Press uses a manual called the AP Stylebook to spell out its rules and standards. Many news organizations, including NPR, turn to the stylebook for guidance.

Just last month, under pressure from outside groups, AP added a stylebook entry to say married same-sex couples should be called husbands or wives.

"Married couples are married couples, and so it's a natural progression," says David Minthorn, one of the stylebook's editors. "Same-sex marriage is much more frequent now than even 10 years ago, and we have to take account of this."

The AP Stylebook also has an entry for "widow" and "widower."

And this is what Minthorn found, flipping through the stylebook during an interview: "Our stylebook definition of widow and widower: 'In obituaries: A man is survived by his wife, or leaves his wife. A woman is survived by her husband or leaves her husband.' So we may have to update that somewhat too, to account for same sex, right?"

More evidence that the only constant in life is change.

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March 29, 2013

Illinois Officials Open Pontiac Prison to News Media

The warden at the maximum-security prison in Pontiac says there have been no problems or violent incidents with inmates shipped from the now-closed Tamms Correctional Center.

Randy Pfister said after a tour Friday with a dozen news reporters that his staff made expectations clear to the roughly 160 inmates transferred in December. That's when Gov. Pat Quinn ordered the "supermax'' prison in far southern Illinois closed because of its high cost.

But Pfister did not take reporters through the section of the north cell house where the most violent ex-Tamms prisoners are housed. Reporters did see a gallery of cells housing former Tamms residents.

However, those men would have completed their disciplinary time at Tamms had the penitentiary for ``the worst of the worst'' remained open.


Noor Kelze
(Courtesy of Noor Kelze)
February 15, 2013

Conflict Transforms Syrian English Teacher Into War Photographer

Syria's war has thrown ordinary citizens into situations they never could have imagined and changed them in ways they never would have dreamed. It's turned carpenters, engineers and doctors into armed rebels. And in Aleppo, it has turned a young woman teacher into a war photographer.

We first met Noor Kelze back in October, on our first trip to Aleppo. We asked her to work with us as an interpreter. She agreed but said she also would be shooting pictures.

Noor, 25, had been teaching English and only recently became a war photographer.

She covers her hair with a hijab, or a stocking cap, or sometimes a helmet. She has sharp eyes and a sly smile. But probably the most striking thing about Noor is how calm she is in the face of chaos.

As we got out of the car in a bombed-out neighborhood during that first trip, she led us around like we were on a tour. We started to hear shelling and gunfire, but Noor was unfazed.

"We're not even close to the front line yet," she said.

She walked us to what she called the back of the front line. It was the backside of a building. The only thing separating us from the front line was the building.

We started asking questions about a guy who was killed the day before. Turns out Noor knew him. He had been part of a team of rebel fighters, known as the Free Syrian Army, which helped pull the body of an old man out of some rubble. A government sniper had shot the man in the chest and killed him.

Noor says the rebel fighter provided cover by shooting at the government sniper. "At the same moment, two rebels ran into the street, dragged the body, and that's it."

Noor photographed the whole thing — the body of the old man being dragged out and the rebel who was shooting to provide cover. Now the rebel shooter is dead.

As we walked through the rubble of the ruined streets, she remembered him — her voice showing no emotion.

"He went to see his family last Saturday ... and then he came back here the next day. And he died," she said.

An Accidental War Photographer

It's this kind of experience that gives Noor credibility with the rebels in Aleppo. It means they give her access, and good access means good pictures.

Men mourn the death of two of their relatives killed by what activists said were missiles fired by a Syrian air force fighter jet from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, at the souk of Azaz, north of Aleppo, on Jan. 13, 2013. When the Syrian uprising started nearly two years ago, Noor was a recent college graduate teaching English in a private school.

Protests kicked off around the country, but not the northern city of Aleppo, Noor's hometown.

That's because the business-minded city was more concerned with survival than politics. Noor says she'd go to protests that lasted only five minutes.

Then some in the protest movement took up arms, and last summer those rebel fighters brought the fight to Aleppo. At first, Noor did what she calls "woman things" — cooking for the rebels.

Then she offered to record one rebel unit's battles and upload the footage to the Internet. She says it was her way to help the cause.

"The camera is as equal as a weapon," she says. "And you need to document every single thing that's happening. Because back in the '80s, when we were in similar situation, nobody had any idea about what was going on in Homs and Hama," she says, referring to a brutal crackdown by then-President Hafez Assad, father of Syrian's current president Bashar Assad. Tens of thousands of people were killed then.

Noor believed her new role was to make sure similar atrocities don't go unreported.

Last fall, a well-known war photographer with the Reuters agency, Goran Tomasovic, spotted Noor shooting pictures with her cell phone. He trained her for a week on how to use a professional camera, then gave her a few of his cameras to keep. She's been sending pictures to the agency ever since.

It's not an easy job. One day Noor was shooting pictures of the aftermath of a bombing by a government plane. The jet circled back around and came in low. Rebels fired at it with two doshkas, a Russian name for large-caliber machine guns.

"I felt so safe because usually ... when the doskha starts firing at the jet, the jet would go up high and not come back again," she says.

But that's not what happened this time. As rebels fired the doshkas, Noor couldn't hear that the jet was coming even closer. She pulled her face away from the camera to see that everyone else had hit the dirt.

Children attend school in Aleppo on Nov. 25, 2012. "And they said, 'It's getting lower! It's getting lower!' It was the jet firing at the doskhas. Firing bullets," she says.

Noor pulled her cameras in tight, turned her back on the plane and ran to hide behind some sandbags. As she did, she took shrapnel across her leg and back.

"I thought I was waiting for death," she says. "Because all I was thinking about is that the jet is going to throw its big bomb now, and we're going to die in pieces."

That didn't happen. For whatever reason, the jet flew away. In the end, Noor's injuries were relatively minor.

Working Despite The Risks

In conservative parts of Aleppo, it's very strange for a young, unmarried woman to be running around with a bunch of guys, let alone guys with guns.

A member of the Free Syrian Army opens fire with a machine gun during clashes with Syrian army forces in Aleppo on Sept. 27, 2012. But Noor says she doesn't care if people gossip. She says her family supports her, and that's all that matters.

On the day Noor took us to the front line, rebel fighters stormed her family's neighborhood, where her mother and three siblings still lived. Government troops responded.

As we drove around, Noor frantically tried to call her mom to see if she was alright. She asked us if we could give the family a ride out of the city.

It was sundown by the time we finally found them.

They had made their escape from the neighborhood and were standing on the street with what looked like everything they owned.

Noor's mother smiled and chatted as if nothing was wrong. An older aunt didn't do so well. Inside the car she rocked back and forth, grabbing my knee and repeating prayers of thanks.A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his rifle as he stands on a damaged street in Aleppo on Nov. 29, 2012.

Some news organizations have stopped taking work from freelancers in Syria. They say doing so only encourages young, inexperienced and uninsured reporters to risk their lives.

But even if she weren't sending pictures to Reuters, Noor says she would do this work anyway.

When we last saw her, Noor said she was planning on setting up a kind of media center that would help her and other Syrians connect with foreign journalists.

But then, something happened.

Just last week, rebels launched an offensive in another front-line neighborhood. A few days later, Noor went to shoot pictures there.

A government tank fired and hit a wall. The wall collapsed on Noor. She came to amid a cloud of dust. The bones around her ankle were broken. She is now being treated in a hospital in Turkey.

Noor told us the attack has only strengthened her resolve. Once the leg heals, she says, she hopes to be back at the front lines.


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