Before he was a master’s student in the journalism department at CU Boulder, Mitch Utterback served as a member of the U.S. Special Forces, including a tour of duty in Iraq . Now he’s back on the frontlines, embedded with Iraqi Special Forces as they try to retake the city of Mosul. But this time, Utterback is armed with a camera. It’s all part of the capstone project for his journalism degree.
While most journalism students in CU’s College of Media, Communication and Information pick decidedly less dangerous topics for their final projects, Utterback hopes to work as a war correspondent after graduation. Coordinating with friends and former colleagues in the Iraqi military, he arranged a month-long reporting trip to Mosul.
“I've returned to Iraq to start establishing my credentials as a war correspondent,” he said in an email. “I'm experiencing the daily life of Iraq's most elite units. I've learned how tough the campaign is and how much care for the civilian population the Iraqi government and its security forces are demonstrating. I've also seen first-hand some of the war crimes committed by ISIS.”