INTERVIEW COLOR CODE: PURPLE
The journalists interviewed said the degree to which reporting on terrorism affects reporters’ emotional well-being differs on an individual basis. The journalists seemed to agree that proximity to violence influences the amount of emotional harm inflicted. Juan Forero said that his coverage in Colombia is perhaps less mentally burdening than reporting down in the trenches of Iraq or Syria, because of the high intensity nature of the conflicts. Likewise, Vegas Tenold, who for several years embedded himself among members of white nationalist extremists, said his frequent trips back home to Brooklyn allowed him to maintain mental stability. For Jamela Alindogan, seeing violence does not get easier, which she attributed to the fact that she is constantly surrounded by the morbidity and horror of war.
Aurelien Breeden said that he was only able to process the emotional effects of the 2015 Paris attacks the day after they happened. While reporting in the immediate aftermath of the attack, he said his professional instincts kicked in.
A few journalists suggested that after a while, reporting on the beat almost takes on a mundane nature, curtailing serious mental trauma. Declan Walsh echoed this idea, saying the plethora of terrorist attacks he has covered start to follow a certain predictable pattern. Rukmini Callimachi said she employs certain techniques to minimize the recurring violent imagery she witnesses.
Ahmad Salkida said he struggled with mental health from reporting on the terrorism beat. He talked about the mental burdens he continues to endure and proposed the implementation of a system whereby journalists reporting on terrorist activity would receive mental support.