CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq (Army News Service, Aug. 15, 2008) -- Twenty-one Iraqi journalists gathered at Combat Outpost Six near Samawah to participate in a media training exercise developed and executed by the Muthana Provincial Reconstruction Team, Aug. 7.

"This was such a positive step to get this many journalists together and discuss sources, stories and risk-taking that is inherent in journalism," said Maj. Chad Carroll, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Long Knife Brigade's public affairs officer.

"This will help them become more independent and effective as journalists in a free society," he said.

The training covered fundamental journalism skills, such as story development, properly citing sources and working as a free press corps.

Iraq has only had a free press for five years, since the fall of the previous regime. Developing a stable, trusted press in Iraq has been a difficult process.

Those present for the training in Samawah embraced the concepts and training introduced by the PRT.

The 2nd Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment assisted the PRT during the event.

"I am excited by all the steps the Iraqis are taking to become a free and open society," said Cpt. Michael Flynn, commander of Company D, 2nd Sqdn., 12th Cav. Regt. "Each step further strengthens the society and the people of Iraq."

The reconstruction team and the 2nd Sqdn., 12th Cav. Regt., are planning future sessions focused on increasing participation, mock interviews and including outside media members as special guest lecturers.