War Correspondent Series Promises Insight Into Conflict

By Genevieve Belmaker, Epoch Times
September 17, 2013 5:15 am Last Updated: September 17, 2013 7:30 am

NEW YORK—New York City is full of war correspondents who either use the city as their home base or pass through it regularly.

A new series of talks with war correspondents and photographers at the Brooklyn Brewery has become a place where these journalists can gather, share stories, and pass on their wisdom to the public and aspiring journalists.

The New York Times’ C.J. Chivers shared his experiences covering 9/11 and its aftermath on Sept. 11, 2013.

A former U.S. Marine and a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism, Chivers told the crowd that his approach to reporting war is multifaceted.

“To cover a war you don’t just walk with the combatants, you don’t just go to the hospitals.” He added that rather than look at the elements of war in isolation, it’s useful to “back up and look at the mosaic.”

Those kinds of insights are what make the War Correspondents at Brooklyn Brewery series so illuminating: firsthand accounts from behind the published version of events in the media.

The reporters’ perspectives are a valuable piece of what informs the news.

Chivers has reported on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, conflict in Russia, and elsewhere. Based in Rhode Island, he is married with five children and raises farm animals and crops in his spare time.

Chivers was the fourth in the series, sponsored by the nonprofit Reporters Instructed In Saving Colleagues (RISC). Events have sold out for every presentation thus far.

Other events have featured conflict journalists and photographers Janine diGiovanni, Jim Frederick, and Michael Kamber.

The talks are held once a month with proceeds from ticket sales going to RISC, an organization founded by journalist and author Sebastian Junger.

Junger was a renowned war correspondent himself until his friend and colleague Tim Hetherington was killed working as a photojournalist in Libya in April 2011.

“It’s great to see the enthusiasm of the New York community for this series,” said Steve Hindy, owner of the Brooklyn Brewery, where the events are held. Hindy is also a former foreign correspondent for The Associated Press in the Middle East.

“It’s a unique opportunity to hear the stories behind the stories from the people who are reporting and writing in the most dangerous areas of the world,” Hindy said.

To address some of the dangers of war reporting for journalists, RISC also runs a free four-day program training freelance conflict journalists to treat life-threatening injuries on the battlefield.


Fall events will include talks with ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff, New Yorker author Jon Lee Anderson with former TIME photographer Robert Nickelsberg, and VICE magazine Editor-in-Chief Rocco Castoro with photographer Ashley Gilbertson.

The Sept. 30 event will focus on Bob Woodruff, known for his coverage of Belgrade and Kosovo during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Woodruff was seriously injured in Iraq in 2006 when an IED (improvised explosive device) hit the military convoy he was traveling with while reporting.

On Oct. 9, Jon Lee Anderson will interview photojournalist Robert Nickelsberg, who photographed for TIME magazine for more than 20 years and has worked in conflict zones all over the world. Anderson’s new book, “Afghanistan: A Distant War,” will be published this fall.

“War reporters have the best stories to listen to in a bar, and the War Correspondent series gives you a ringside seat to do just that,” said John Martin, publisher of VICE magazine. “But this bar’s a brewery and the first beer is free with entry.”

The series is produced in partnership with Togather, a new literary resource, which connects authors with readers to events. Tickets are $25 and can be bought online at www.togather.com.