Because even leaving the hotel to pursue a story is so dangerous, Hughes says that now the safest way to get a good story is to be embedded with U.S. troops. “Generally, all it takes is one email to some lieutenant,” he says. “A few days later, you’re in a sardine can bumping along Highway 1.”

Hughes joins John Burns of The New York Times, photographer Jason Howe and Reuters photographer Alastair MacDonald — all on an embed in an area called “the triangle of death.” They first receive an hour-long military Power Point presentation. “You have to remember you are only getting one side of the story, and it’s a very convincing narrative,” MacDonald says.

Hughes then meets up with Jackie Spinner, a reporter from The Washington Post, who is hunkered down beside a concrete wall, trying to file a story by satellite. She laments her dependence upon Iraqi stringers and the military for information. “I can’t be my own eyes and ears anywhere,” she says.