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

NPR Special -- Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent's Dilemma featuring Kelly McEvers.

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Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent's Dilemma is a one-hour special produced by NPR's Kelly McEvers and Transom.org's Jay Allison.

kelly mcevers 400In 2011, NPR's Kelly McEvers started to see things in slow motion. She cried unpredictably. She was a correspondent in the turbulent Middle East, at 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 on record for journalists worldwide. It was a huge hit to the "tribe" of foreign correspondents of which Kelly is a part.

With independent producer Jay Allison of Transom.org, Kelly chronicles that year and her personal struggles as a war correspondent in a new documentary radio hour called Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent's Dilemma.

As she reported in dangerous places like Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria, Kelly braved gunfire, explosions, and tear gas, recording diaries the whole time. Kelly turns 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?"

The program includes interviews with Anna Blundy, the daughter of a journalist killed in El Salvador; renowned war correspondent Paul Wood of the BBC; longtime conflict writer Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker; famed correspondent Christiane Amanpour of CNN; 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 war correspondents and their families make to tell untold stories -- and the sometimes dangerous allure of the job.

Funding for this program comes from the National Endowment for the Arts.