Journalists under Fire
The Psychological Hazards of Covering War
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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When it is all over, when the emotional and physical exhaustion have left war journalists depleted and broken, their personal lives often in shambles, their sleep plagued by images of carnage and death, and their careers at times in tatters, they come home to their news organizations, or, in the slang of the profession, to the beast. The beast, which for years they fed...
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This book owes much to the journalists who made time in busy, often hectic schedules to fill out questionnaires and meet with me. Of those I interviewed, all were prepared to be quoted, although some preferred anonymity. I have respected this need for confidentiality, which in rare instances meant that I had to alter some personal identifying characteristics...
1 A Hazardous Profession
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The patient who entered my office on a frigid December morning came with an interesting history. The referral note from the hospitalâs senior neurologist laid out the clinical details. The woman suddenly took ill in a restaurant while dining with family and friends...
2 Dangerâs Troubled Legacy: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
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The dangers war journalists work under were exposed, tragically, early on in my study. With the questionnaires en route to him, Miguel Gil Moreno, one of the most respected cameramen in the profession, was killed while covering the civil war in Sierra Leone. Shock, disbelief, outrage, anguishâ I would witness these emotions time and again when war journalists were killed or wounded.
3 Why Take the Risks?
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ââwar in europe over. There is absolutely no reason to get up in the mornings any more.ââ So ends the memoir of Robert Capa, the great war photographer. It is a revealing final statement and encapsulates a philosophy to life shared by many of his colleagues. War may be ââthat stupid crime, that devilâs madness,ââ yet for a small...
4 Depression, Drink, and Drugs
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The war against the Taliban in Afghanistan provided bleak evidence of the high mortality rate that comes with telling warâs story. In just over one week, eight journalists were killed. Among them was Julio Fuentes, ranked as one of the half dozen most experienced war journalists of his generation by the...
5 Freelance War Journalists
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On September 27, 2002, the Times of London ran an obituary titled ââBritish TV Man Killed in Chechen Battle.ââ The article, which angered the small community of freelance journalists, reported that ââthe British author of a travel guide to the worldâs most dangerous places has been killed as Chechen rebels fought a fierce battle against an overwhelming Russian force.ââ...
6 War, Women, Wives, and Widows
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In October 2001, just before the start of the American bombing in Afghanistan, a female journalist from the Express newspaper in the United Kingdom donned a full burka, hired two local stringers, and slipped across the Pakistan border astride a donkey. Beneath the billowing folds of her disguise, she carried a camera and her notebook...
7 Domestic Journalists and Urban Terror: The Aftermath of September 11
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On a bright autumnal September morning I was doing a ward round on a psychiatry unit. Situated in a crumbling wing of an old veterans hospital, the ward, like many psychiatric facilities dating from the World War II era, has a rundown, decrepit feel. A sparsely furnished room, upholstery stained and ripped, drapes that...
8 The Iraq War: In Bed with the Military
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The terrorist attacks of September 11 and the American-led invasion of Iraq less than two years later presented journalists with uniquely different sets of challenges. On September 11, mayhem arrived unexpectedly, the surprise was complete, and journalists averse to conflict reporting suddenly found themselves war...
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My interview with a defensive Maggie OâKane started on a difficult note. ââI donât necessarily buy your theory that we are all traumatized,ââ she told me. I assured her that was not my view. And indeed, the results of my studies proved us correct. After a decade or more of confronting extremely hazardous situations, some journalists...
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Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2006