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Trauma Journalism

Terry Anderson, author of "Den of Lions," a survivor of terrorism and a hostage in Lebanon from 1985 to 1991, says that being a disciplined professional journalist does not preclude passion or empathy for a given subject or source. While he believes journalists should utilize the tools of their craft and strive for balance and fairness, not all stories have the obligatory two sides. For example, he notes that when covering the Rwandan genocide, there was only one side to consider— the truth. Like others who have experienced tragedy and trauma firsthand (Anderson was a Marine correspondent in Vietnam), he does not believe that being detached is the proper perspective for a reporter. Being in touch with one’s feelings when reporting on a difficult story, Anderson believes, will enable that journalist to write a more accurate, realistic, and dramatic account.

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