While scores of journalists were confronting trauma and danger to cover the Iraq War, a group of seasoned
veterans of such assignments took a brief break to gather at Bretton Woods, N.H., and talk about the emotional challenges raised by their duties in the field.
For two days, they engaged one another in frank, freewheeling and often personally cathartic discussions about human vulnerability as it relates to the craft of combat journalism.
In the end, these intense competitors agreed to share what they had learned with others who cover conflict. They concurred that journalists who are equipped to care for themselves emotionally can stay in the field longer, deliver more compelling reports and return home with fewer problems.
Their recommendations in October 2005 launched a project which culminated in publication of this handbook. The retreat and the handbook are projects of the Dart Society, a group of journalists who support sensitive coverage of trauma and care of those covering it.
Sharon Schmickle is a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She has covered conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the aftermath of the tsunami in South Asia, and school shootings in Red Lake and Rocori high schools in Minnesota.