Reporting War

Newsroom clip files are packed with stories about the trauma that can follow conflict and danger: the depression of the U.S. Marine who hanged himself after a tour of duty in Iraq, the flashbacks of the Liberian refugee who hid among dead bodies to avoid being shot, the insomnia of the UN peacekeeper who witnessed the murders of Timorese babies.

What about the journalists who risked their lives to cover the stories behind the trauma? What is being done to ease our normal, human responses to dangerous assignments?

Military leaders are beginning to understand that they can boost troops’ strength and endurance by responding to combat stress.

It’s time for news organizations to do the same.

Security training and protective gear are essential preparations for a dangerous assignment, combat reporters agree. Packing lists and other tip sheets are immensely helpful. But news organizations are not doing enough to shield reporters and photographers until they also address trauma.