Diary of A Bad Year: A War Correspondent's Dilemma

In early 2011, NPR's Kelly McEvers started to see things in slow motion. She cried unpredictably. She was a correspondent in the turbulent Middle East, in the time of the Arab uprisings. Colleagues and friends were being kidnapped. Some were getting killed.

But still, she went toward the story. The next year, 2012, was the deadliest year on record for journalists. It was a huge hit to the "tribe" of war correspondents of which Kelly is a part. These are people who choose to go into conflict, to put themselves at risk. But they also enjoy the role, the adrenaline, the life. Some of them, like Kelly, have children.

As she reported in dangerous places like Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria, she braved gunfire, explosions, and tear gas, recording diaries the whole time. She also turned her reporting skills on her own life, seeking advice from doctors, scientists, and colleagues. Her goal was to answer one question: Why do otherwise intelligent people risk their lives when they don't have to?

Twenty months later, in collaboration with independent producer Jay Allison of Transom.org, the result is a documentary radio hour called "Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent's Dilemma."

The program includes interviews with British journalist Anna Blundy, whose father, the late war correspondent David Blundy, was killed by a sniper while covering the Salvadoran Civil War; BBC World Affairs correspondent, Paul Wood; Jon Lee Anderson international investigative reporter for The New Yorker; international journalist, Christiane Amanpour, for CNN/ABC; and Sebastian Junger, who with the late Tim Hetherington made the award-winning film, Restrepo, about the war in Afghanistan.

It's a gripping story, an unprecedented and intimate portrait of the sacrifices reporters and their families make to tell untold stories -- and the sometimes dangerous allure of the job.

It premieres on the public radio website, Transom.org, on June 25th, and is available to public radio stations through NPR and PRX.

Produced by:

Kelly McEvers is a Middle East correspondent for National Public Radio based in Beirut, Lebanon, mainly covering the conflict in Syria. In 2012 she was awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia award, the Peabody Award, the Gracie Award and an Overseas Press Club citation.

Jay Allison is variously the founder, collaborator, and producer of The Moth Radio Hour, This I Believe, Lost & Found Sound, Transom.org, PRX.org, and WCAI on Cape Cod where he lives. He has created hundreds of documentaries and has received six Peabody Awards.
Transom.org channels new work and voices to public radio, with a focus on the power of story, and on the mission of public media in a changing media environment. Transom won the first Peabody Award ever granted exclusively to a website. Transom.org is a project of Atlantic Public Media which runs the Transom Story Workshops and founded WCAI, the public radio station in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.


Kelly McEvers
Anna Blundy
Paul Wood
Jon Lee Anderson
Christiane Amanpour
Sebastian Junger

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