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April 17, 2003

Picture of Phil IttnerAt least two SFSU alumni are among the 600 journalists covering the military conflict in the Middle East.

CBS News Producer Phil Ittner, 32, is "embedded" with the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division, Fourth Brigade, Aviation Wing. Also serving as a correspondent, he has reported on various battles between coalition forces and Iraqi soldiers and a sandstorm near the southern Iraq city of an-Nasariyah.

"Unless you've got some sort of protection over your eyes, the dust will get right in there and you won't be able to see worth a darn," Ittner said in a March 26 report. "Breathing can also be a problem; you have to put some sort of mask over your mouth if you want to breathe properly."

Ittner, who earned a bachelor's degree in radio and television in 1994, previously served as a CBS News producer in Afghanistan and Chechnya and a producer for the network's "48 Hours" program.

Picture of Mei Ying WelshMei Ying Welsh, 33, is an independent journalist serving as a correspondent for Channel News Asia, Channel 8 in Singapore, and Pacifica Radio in the United States.

Welsh, who attended SFSU in the late 1990s, has filed reports on news conferences from the Iraqi Ministry of Information and the first round of "shock and awe" bombings. In a March 24 report for the Pacifica Radio program Democracy NOW!, she described a bombing of the Iraqi Republican Palace in Baghdad that she witnessed from a nearby office building.

"A gigantic mushroom cloud of smoke rose into the sky and shockwaves came and hit our building so strongly that the whole place shook, and I am surprised the glass in the windows didn't break," she said. "We all started running down the stairs really fast and had to exit the building and run down to the bank of the Tigress (River). And when we were there, we could see these missiles streaking across the sky."

The Straits Times, a daily newspaper in Singapore, recently featured Welsh in an article on journalists on the frontlines.

"Her steady delivery, informed reports and attractive Eurasian looks have made many (viewers) sit up," the article stated.

Welsh, who speaks Arabic, has worked as a reporter, camerawoman and field producer for several television stations, including CNN and PBS, according to The Straits Times.

Twelve SFSU students have been called into active duty by the U.S. military reserves and withdrawn from their classes this semester. One SFSU employee who is a reservist has also been called into active duty.

NOTE: Ittner photo courtesy of CBS News. Ying photo courtesy of Democracy NOW!.

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Last modified April 17, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs