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.
This is an intimate portrait of the sacrifices reporters and their families make to tell untold stories -- and the sometimes dangerous allure of the job.