‘Under Fire’ documentary shows psychological cost of war reporting
Under Fire: Journalists in Combat demonstrates the psychological cost of war reporting and debuts on CBC's documentary channel Tuesday night.
Only two journalists were killed during the first World War. Last year alone, 66 journalists were killed according to a Reporters Without Borders report.
With reporting from conflict zones becoming an increasingly dangerous endeavour, and with lines blurring between who is a journalist, a blogger or a tweeter, especially in the face of civil unrest driven by social media, it's an important time to look at the psychological cost of war as seen through the eyes of journalists.
Under Fire: Journalists in Combat is set to have its debut on CBC tomorrow night at 9 p.m. EST. Having been long-listed for this year's Academy Awards, the documentary says to "[weave] together portraits of these journalists and photographers; those who have survived physically, but have succumbed emotionally to what they have witnessed."
With Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Feinstein, producer-director-writer Martyn Burke gets the stories of award-winning reporters from Reuters, BBC, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others that illustrate the psychological costs of covering war.
In a recent story for The Atlantic, Burke describes how vastly different the war reporting environment is today than it was during the Vietnam era, when he began reporting from conflict zones:
"It used to be that in Vietnam, you could go to a battlefield, go back to Saigon, and sit in the Caravelle Hotel bar with all your buddies and watch the war in the distance, and drink like crazy and go to sleep in a really good room," he said. "That doesn't happen anymore." Today, Burke describes a 24-hour news cycle that demands a constant flow of new and compelling stories. Reporters "always have to get closer, they always have to be first, they always have to be in as dangerous of place as they possibly can." Referring to war correspondent Christina Lamb's comments in Under Fire, Burke adds, "It's not big news if a soldier gets killed, kidnapped or captured—it's big news if a journalist gets killed or captured. So journalists are now targeted way more than they ever had been before."
Check out the trailer for Under Fire.[node:ad]