“Hey! Welcome back. How was Iraq?”
That’s something I heard often in the hallways of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when I was freshly returned from war. But how do you answer such a question when the person who asked hasn’t even slowed their gait to listen. I mean, really listen.
So the answer, inevitably, went like this: “Iraq was great. Glad to be home.”
Tonight, at the Atlanta Press Club, I have been asked to contribute to a discussion on journalists who cover traumatic events. I’m not sure what I will say because I’m not sure I have figured it all out.
I just know that after seven trips to Iraq, life became rather difficult to navigate at times. I felt lonely, cocooned really, thinking that no one here understood me anymore. I was frustrated to hear my friends speak of things I considered dull, irrelevant, inane. I wanted the paper to laud me for my heroic efforts. It didn’t. I considered every assignment boring — what could top a war story?
I saw rivers of blood in my dreams and when I awoke, I wanted to return there. It was the only place that had meaning.
I don’t know what I will say tonight. That, perhaps, is the entire point.
Covering These Troubled Times: What Journalists Should Know about Trauma
Wednesday, November 4
6 – 6:30pm reception
6:30-7pm Screening: Breaking News, Breaking Down
7- 8:30pm Panel discussion
The Commerce Club, 16th Floor
34 Broad Street Atlanta, GA 30303 Valet parking is available for $6 and is not included in the ticket prices. For directions, please visitwww.thecommerceclub.org/location.html. Because of limited parking at TCC, please consider using MARTA, whose Five Points station is across the street, or parking in nearby decks on Marietta Street.
This program is open to the public. APC members and students receive complimentary admission to the event. Please R.S.V.P. so we know how many people to expect. Nonmembers may purchase tickets for $10. Tickets may be purchased by clicking the link below or by calling 404-57-PRESS. Payment must accompany reservations, and there is a 48-hour cancellation policy.