From what I know, war journalists are told never to be armed. They can have armed escort and they can be body armour and use arm bands and chest sign to say they are part of the press. Being armed or seen as being armed with a weapon will create enough doubt that you will be shot in defend. Many times there has been stories where even in very hostile situations, press people were spared in the interest that both side want the story told. So there is some buffer given in that respect. Of course it is no guaranteed and there is also such a thing called "friendly" fire. In fact this Iraq war have had a few cases of US soldiers who were actually shot by their own....that would include any civilians that were with them at the given time.
Danger comes with the territory of the job. No one is saying one will dive off the deep end into it but more like you will ease into it as you get on with the job. Not one get brave over night that's for sure.