One Shot Over The Line

conflict journalists and trauma


we live in an age of 24 hour news where stories come and go in the blink of an eye, the number and variety of sources from which we get news seem to expand daily and the way that information is distributed and consumed changes constantly. in this cacophonous stream of endless information, we rarely pause to consider journalists themselves—the photographers, camerapersons and writers who work to seek out and deliver these stories to us.

for those men and women who cover war, terrorism, disasters natural and otherwise, the technological aspects of the job may have changed but the conditions and experiences of working on the front lines have altered little. the physical and mental price it can extract remains high.

trauma and ptsd in combat soldiers and civilians caught in the crossfire are well known phenomena; less acknowledged is that journalists sometimes suffer similar effects as a result of the things they witness and experience in the course of doing their jobs. how does the journalist maintain objectivity, balancing the professional obligation to observe with the human instinct to help? how does one reconcile the horrific content of images with their aesthetic beauty—does the inherent act of framing contribute to trauma? what role might censorship play—what compels journalists to continually place themselves in danger to acquire information that may then be denied publication and how do media outlets justify asking them to do so?

one shot over the line examines these and other complex questions, asking us to think more deeply about the news we so rapidly consume and discard and giving voice to the personal stories of the journalists behind the headlines.