Over There

“Covering Violence Is Not Something That You Do Without Effect on You”

Terry Anderson on the personal, physical, and emotional strains of being a foreign correspondent.

Slate has partnered with Brooklyn Brewery and RISC to bring its hit war correspondent interview series to our readers. In this fifth installment, Steve Hindy, founder of Brooklyn Brewery and a former Associated Press foreign correspondent, sits down with Terry Anderson, former Associated Press chief Mideast correspondent and author of Den of Lions, a memoir detailing the horrific six years and nine months he spent in captivity in Lebanon.

“It’s a difficult life—it is, however, a life worth doing,” says Terry Anderson about being a foreign correspondent. In discussing the strains of covering conflict, the former chief Mideast correspondent for the AP expands on the difficulties of that life, noting the prevalence of secondary PTSD among journalists—a shared trait that puts them in an unenviable category with first responders. Being a foreign correspondent is a job, he says, that “takes all of your professional, and emotional, and even physical capacity.” In the clip above, Anderson talks about all of this—the emotional and physical hardships that come with being surrounded by violence and abject poverty—as well as what makes a good journalist, and why, despite the steep emotional toll, it’s still a “hell of a job.”