Friday, June 19, 2009

Storytelling from a War Zone

Washington, DC - Body armor, check. Kevlar helmet, check. I flipped through the pages of my notes from the Conflict Reporting class I took with Judith Matloff at Columbia Journalism School one last time this morning. That's where I first started learning the tools of this trade. For the next three weeks, I'll be putting those notes into practice.

After a half-dozen internships, a graduate degree and almost a year into my job as a full time journalist, I'll be doing something that I've always dreamed of - telling a story from abroad.

I've never been to a war before. The closest I've come to witnessing a war was seeing a dozen Maoist rebels in western Nepal armed with old rusty barrel guns - hardly any need for bulletproof vests and ballistic proof sunglasses. I would pay 100 rupees and roam around a village like a free man.

Neither have I ever ran into trouble. The closest I've come to danger was when I was chased by two prostitutes outside a telephone booth in downtown Rome. And never have I embedded with soldiers carrying automatic weapons. The last time I was in company of nice men with guns was when I went deer-hunting with my friend's father in a friendly jungle in Virginia.

I hear Afghanistan won't be anything like that.

But I'm excited by the opportunity to report from the frontline of what could very well be one of the greatest wars of our generation.

More to come soon.

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