War journalism

Note: This blog post also ran in the Society of Professional Journalism’s “Journalism and the World” blog. Click here to see the original post.

I’ll write more on this topic later, but right now I’d like to point everyone to a fantastic post by Michael Yon about how he started as a war correspondent. It’s a fascinating read about Iraq and is yet another example of how to become a foreign correspondent without going through the traditional channels.

I still have a hard time reading articles like his. The need to go back to the front lines is still embedded pretty deeply in me. (See my earlier article in Quill: Addicted to War or, if you don’t have access to Quill, ‘Addicted to War‘ is also reposted on my website.)

Does anyone know of a support group for recovering war correspondents?

Being a foreign correspondent is completely different — after a few weeks, any city starts to seem normal. I’ve been in Shanghai for three years now, and even when I travel around the region, to Hong Kong, Singapore, India, I feel pretty much at home.

In a war zone, you have the feeling of living on full alert all the time, you’re always in the moment. You get closer to people quicker than you ever would in normal life, and connect on a deeper level. Or, at least, it feels that way. But I’m still in touch with some of the people I met in war zones, and when we get together, we speak a common language that other people don’t share.

The other night I went out for drinks with a bunch of local and expat journalists (we’re trying to make it a regular Thursday-night thing) and I got into a long discussion with an Autralian photog about how many friends we’d lost. I was a little drunk and didn’t catch his name but for a little while there it felt as if the rest of the world kind of fell away.

From Shanghai,