INTERVIEW COLOR CODE: LIGHT GREEN
Personal and professional identity is something all journalists have to grapple with, especially when reporting on terrorism. For most of the journalists, their identity is a matrix of different layers comprising nationality, professional distinction and events that shaped their lives. The majority of these professionals do identify themselves as journalists. Even though, as Graeme Wood says, they may know more about the conflict than many of their sources, they do not claim to be experts on terrorism. They are writers who have made their careers out of reporting on these conflicts.
Many of these journalists are reporting on their own country or have been living in the region they are covering for an extended period of time. Jorge Sainz Gómez, Juan Forero and Rukmini Callimachi have experience in balancing their national identity with their identity as a reporter. Sainz Gómez and Forero are citizens of the nations they report on, meaning the attacks they cover are devastating their homeland and their own people. For Sainz Gómez in particular, he grew up witnessing the violence and devastation the ETA caused in his country. Though they are able to maintain objectivity in their writing, these journalists are still victims of the terrorism they report on.
Sulome Anderson serves as a prime example of a journalist whose personal and professional journalistic identities have been mixed. Anderson currently lives in Lebanon where she reports on Hezbollah. Her choice to follow Hezbollah is completely intertwined with her identity because her father, American journalist Terry Anderson, was kidnapped and held captive by the group for the the majority of Sulome’s childhood. Sulome Anderson has emphasized a deep loyalty to her sources, which further complicates her identity because the organization trusts her so much. Anderson’s intricate identity matrix proves how when reporting on terrorism, it is very difficult to compartmentalize certain aspects of one’s identity.