The Risks and Rewards of War Reporting The dangers of reporting in wartime are highlighted when one reporter is kidnapped and two more badly injured in a roadside attack. But reporters covering conflicts have always had to calculate the risks of bringing a story home.
NPR logo

The Risks and Rewards of War Reporting

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
The Risks and Rewards of War Reporting

The Risks and Rewards of War Reporting

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Michel Martin in Washington. Neal Conan is on assignment.

From Ernest Hemingway to Michael Kelly, reporters have long risked personal safety to get what is unquestionably the biggest story of every generation, the news of war. War correspondents bring us the images and the stories of those who wage war. And equally, if not more important, those most affected by it. But despite every precaution, as World War Two correspondent Ernie Pyle put it, There's just no way to play it completely safe and still do your job. Pyle, of course, was killed in Japan by a sniper's bullet.

The last few weeks have brought the dangers of reporting from Iraq into sharp focus with the abduction of freelancer Jill Carroll, the 36th journalist to be kidnapped since April 2004, and the serious injury of ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt.

Iraq, where some 61 journalists have been killed since the beginning of the war in 2003, has become a most dangerous assignment. Still, first timers and veterans alike are still covering the news, both inside the protected Green Zone and out.

This hour, we will look at war reporting. What makes people go? How it changes from conflict to conflict, the dangers, both personal and physical. What would be lost if journalists did not go?

If you've ever reported from a war zone, give us a call. What do you do to keep safe? Is it even possible to keep safe and get the story? And when did you decide you'd had enough. And if you ever fought in a war and have comments about how reporters do their job, give us a call too. Our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. That's 800-989-TALK. Our email address is

Later in the hour we go to our weekly opinion page feature. Today we'll talk about unemployment in the Middle East and why this is a problem in the U.S.

But first I'm joined by Joe Galloway, military affairs correspondent for Knight Ridder. He served three tours in Vietnam for UPI beginning in early 1965, and he is the only civilian to have been awarded the Bronze Star by the U.S. Army during that war. He is co-author of the book We Were Soldiers Once and Young, and he is still reporting from the field. He was in Iraq this past December and most of January. He's here in Studio 3A.

Welcome to the program.

Mr. JOE GALLOWAY (War Correspondent): Nice to be here.

MARTIN: I'm sure you've answered this question a million times, but please tell us what made you want to do this work?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Always wanted it, from my first days as a reporter. I had read Mr. Pyle's collected works as a kid and thought I want to be reporter, and if I am and there's a war in my generation, then I want to cover it. I thought it would be a lot easier to explain why I did than to explain why I would remain home covering something else, when an event so important in the history of our times was going on.

MARTIN: You were born on the eve of World War II. Your father and several of his brothers were in uniform. Six.


MARTIN: Six of his brothers. And you told one interviewer that your first four or five years, you grew up in a house full of frightened women who looked out the window waiting for the boy to come with the telegram. And you never forget this. I could make the argument that an experience like that might send you running in the opposite direction to spare somebody else that pain.

Mr. GALLOWAY: No, not really. I thought I needed to see this to try to understand war and combat. And at the same time to remember that untold story of the families, the children at home, and the fact that they too serve and they too suffer, perhaps far more than those in combat that they love.

MARTIN: A colleague of mine once told me that every man has a need to prove to himself that he is not a coward.

Mr. GALLOWAY: I've heard that.

MARTIN: Is that part of it?

Mr. GALLOWAY: I'm not sure that it is, as far as myself or my colleagues. It's not so much a matter of proving that you can do it. It's just doing it. It's a vital story that has to be told and somebody has got to do that job. If no one did that job we would be blind in the face of our enemies.

We're joined by another distinguished correspondent. Donatella Lorch has reported on civil wars in Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda, as Nairobi bureau chief for the New York Times. She has traveled with the Mujahideen in the mid 1980s, in fact traveling as a woman alone for two years off and on. She is currently the director of the Knight International Press Fellowships. And she joins us here in Studio 3A.

Welcome to the program.

Ms. DONATELLA LORCH (War Correspondent): It's a pleasure being here.

MARTIN: The same question to you. Why? Why this work? Why not, you know, the State House or, you know, State Department?

Ms. LORCH: Well, I wanted to get into journalism to go overseas. When I was a teenager I was fascinated with the Vietnam War. And I mean by then it had finished and I read everything possible there was to read on it. And what I wanted to do was go out and cover war.

I don't think even a question of cowardice comes up, that you asked Joe. And I think I'm permanently a coward. I don't think it has anything with going out there. I wanted, once I made it out there as a freelancer, I fell so in love with the cultures I was covering. I wanted to be in Afghanistan because I wanted to learn about the Afghan people and Afghanistan. And that was my main reason.

After that, being overseas just sort of got into my blood, and I ended up by chance in Africa, where it happened to be a three-year period where there was civil war after civil war after genocide after massacres. It was never ending.

MARTIN: Did you anticipate that when you chose the assignment, or when the assignment was chosen for you?

Ms. LORCH: No. I think I got the assignment because they thought it would be a sleepy little, you know, layaway plan, so to speak. And I got there and it was just at the beginning of the famine in Somalia, and the U.S. and the U.N. intervention, and everything it meant. Two solid years of covering that, and then the Rwandan genocide, and the Burundian massacres, and the fighting in Sudan.

So there was neverending cycles of violence that had to be covered.

MARTIN: What was your preparation for this, Donatella?

Ms. LORCH: None, really. In Afghanistan I went out there bright-eyed, bushy-tailed doing a lot of mistakes that I'm so glad I didn't, that I had the luck and that nothing happened to me. There are many journalists that were killed. There are many young people right now, both covering Afghanistan and Iraq, that I think don't necessarily, it's their first war that they're covering, and it's a very, very dangerous war.

And I didn't really, I learned how to cover the war over the years. Right now, in hindsight, I would have done things very differently 20 years ago.

MARTIN: For example?

Ms. LORCH: I wouldn't go into a situation without knowing how to get out of it, such as the Rwandan genocide. I drove into Kigali the first week of the genocide without any plans in place on how to get out. And once I got there, I was stuck in there and I couldn't get out.

MARTIN: Joe, what about you? I know you had many family members who served in the military. But had you yourself served in the military before you went as a correspondent?

Mr. GALLOWAY: No, I had not.

MARTIN: And what was your training? What was your preparation?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Well, I saw a lot of John Wayne movies. I went to Vietnam basically with plenty of experience as a political reporter, and a police beat reporter, and all of that sort of thing. But none as far as covering combat, covering a war.

MARTIN: And the first time you came under fire?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Oh, it was very soon. I went there with there with a lot of ideas, most of them wrong as to what was going to happen there and how quickly it was going to be over with now that the U.S. Marines had landed. And a couple of days later I found myself in a very bad situation in Quoqnai(ph) Province. And really, we flew into a little hilltop that from the air I could see a lot of people in foxholes. And when we landed they were all dead. It was a battalion of Vietnamese troops and we had gotten this ride because they wanted our help to pick up the dead American advisors.

And so we went from hole to hole until we found them and carried them to the helicopter. And on the flight back I sort of looked at their faces and I looked at their boots and I thought, You know, this is going to be a long, hard war and it may not turn out the way that I thought it would.

MARTIN: And you still remember it.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Oh, I remember every minute of it.

MARTIN: Let's bring a caller into the conversation.

Here is Michael from Providence, Rhode Island. Welcome, Michael.

MICHAEL (Caller): Hi, how are you doing? I was a reporter in Russia from '91 to '94, when the Empire collapsed and I got kidnapped at gunpoint by these Mafia guys and driven into the woods in St. Petersburg. And, you know, it was pretty traumatic, pretty much they took everything but my life, and that was on the table.

But you know, the thing is after that, I pretty much went undercover like the way Jill Carroll did. I just dressed in local clothes, didn't speak English, didn't act like I was an American anymore. And it is an essential conundrum, you can either do that or you can run around with these armored cars and chase cars and, you know, guys with machine guns. And the problems is, either way you can't really talk to the people. It's really, really hard to do your job as a reporter, because either way, you know, you're completely isolated from the people you want to cover.

MARTIN: Michael, are you still in the business?

MICHAEL: Yeah, yeah, I do commentaries.

MARTIN: When people ask you whether it was worth it, what do you tell them?

MICHAEL: Yeah, it was worth it. I was doing video too and, you know, at the time people were making $8.00 a month there and my video cameras worth a lifetime income. So after that, the video camera didn't come out much. But yeah, it was worth it, it was just, you know, it was just impossible to tell where the danger was coming from there because everybody loved Americans and they all wanted to take you home and give you food and vodka and the shirts off their back. And you couldn't really tell, you know, the really bad guys from just the average people and it made it very difficult.

MARTIN: Thanks, Michael. Donatella, I'm sure that people ask you this all the time and we'll get back to this after the break, but how do you explain taking risks like that to your family?

Ms. LORCH: My explanation has evolved in the past 10 years or so. When I first started out, my mother and I would have major arguments about it because I would disappear for three weeks at a time. Now I try to justify it by saying I will not, by promising her that I'm intelligent enough that I know where my boundaries are and I will only take so much risk to get the story. No story is worth dying for.

MARTIN: We're going to take a short break now, but when we return, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist David Turnley will join us.

I'm Michel Martin, it's TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Michel Martin in Washington.

Today we're talking about war correspondents, from Vietnam to the Green Zone in Iraq, the risks and the rewards. You're invited to join the discussion. Have you ever reported from a war zone or have you served in a war and have a comment about the way journalists cover conflict? You're invited to join the discussion. Give us a call at 800-989-TALK. Our e-mail address is

Here with us in Studio 3A is Joe Galloway, military affairs correspondent for Knight Ridder. He has been in and out of war zones since early 1965 in Vietnam. And Donatella Lorch is here with us as well. She has reported on civil wars in Sudan and Somalia, genocide in Rwanda, and has traveled with the Mujahideen for two years. Welcome both of you.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Thank you.

MARTIN: Joe, we were asking before the break, we were asking Donatella how she explains the risks of her job to her family, in fact how you justify taking those risks when you have a family. And I think women are often asked this question. I think it's only fair to ask you too.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Well, it's, you know, it's something, as Donatella said, your story evolves as the children grow a little older and you explain more of it and they come to understand more of what it is you're doing. I remember, first time in a good while that I had gone to war was the Gulf War. And I'd gotten the call to go to Andrews Air Base and get on the plane flying to Saudi Arabia in early January '91. And I sat my two sons down. One was probably eight and the other six.

And I told them that I was leaving and I didn't know how long I'd be gone, but I had to go cover this war. And the youngest son looked at me and he said, Dad, is the country in such trouble that it needs you? But you know, you talk to them a little more as they grow older and then try to explain it. But...

MARTIN: But did a moment ever come when they just, Please, Daddy, don't go? And what did you say?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Well, after I came back from that one, my wife said, you know you scared my children and you've got to stop doing that. So I slowed down for a while.

MARTIN: Not for long.

And joining us now is photographer David Turnley. He's a Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary photographer who's covered all kinds of conflicts. He has photographed the first Gulf War, revolutions in Eastern Europe, the student uprising in China, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. He is currently staff photographer for Getty Images and he joins us from our New York Bureau.

Welcome, David.

Mr. DAVID TURNLEY (Staff Photographer, Getty Images): Hi, how are you?

MARTIN: Very well. Thank you for coming in. Why do you think you wanted to do this work, to take pictures in such dangerous places? And after all, as a photographer, you can't hide.

Mr. TURNLEY: I didn't, I grew up in the Midwest. I was privileged to grow up in a family that was very socially conscious at a time when their mantra was Dr. King's mantra, which is we are all created equal. And yet I was living in an industrial urban city where things certainly didn't look very equal. There was a black inner-city and a white periphery and I played on football teams where my black teammates were bussed back to the inner-city at the end of a day.

And it wasn't until I saw a book of photographs that was a portrait of a block in Harlem by a photographer named Bruce Davidson that what jumped out at me in these photographs was the inherent dignity in all of the subjects and that clearly the photographer, however he had managed to make these pictures, had earned the trust and collaborated with these subjects to be able to capture that dignity. It was at that moment that what clicked for me was the idea that what is equal is the innate ability for all of us to be dignified, to have dignity.

And when I realized that I could use a camera to register that, that felt like a very valuable, noble mission. And I'd been a good athlete and that certainly was another compatible set of ingredients and skill sets, if you will, that gave me the opportunity to do what I do to be in the midst of chaos and to keep my head.

But I certainly didn't set out to be a war photographer. I was very idealistic. I went to the Mid-East in 1982 to do a project for the Detroit Free Press, which was the first look at the Palestinian diaspora, to call it a diaspora. And I covered the Israeli's invasion of Beirut at that time.

And then I was, I pitched to that same newspaper to go to South Africa in 1985 during the most intense period of the unraveling of Apartheid, and it was just an unbelievably privileged three years of my career to be witness to that society and change and the idealistic struggle to end Apartheid.

MARTIN: David, when you go to an assignment, particularly in a conflict zone, what do you see as your mission?

Mr. TURNLEY: Well, I've covered so many different situations. My mission, I think, always is a human mission. I believe in humanity. I think it's very shortsighted to see the world in terms of division. So I feel if I can, with my photographs, register, again, this sort of dignity of people of different races, different ethnicities, different religious creeds, that perhaps I can do my bit to unify the world the world we live in.

MARTIN: Donatella, you wanted to add something.

Ms. LORCH: Well, what I wanted to say to add to David's mission statement, which is very to the point, is that war is 90 percent boredom. You just sit there and you wait for something to happen. And war is what happens to the people around the fighting. It's not, the fighting itself is a tiny, tiny proportion of the war. It's telling the story of how that fighting affects the people in that country.

MARTIN: So is that fair to say that that's what you see as your assignment, mainly to show the effect?

Ms. LORCH: Yes, I mean I go out because I want to, I think that it's an honor and a privilege to be a journalist and it's a great privilege to be able to learn so much while you do your job. And when you go and cover a war, it's more to show the ravages of the war. Not only to the people, the soldiers that die and the battle at hand, but also to the civilians that die and to the civilians that survive.

MARTIN: Some might argue that that inherently takes a political tone.

Ms. LORCH: I mean, not if you're trying to tell the story as factually as possible.

MARTIN: Joe, what about you, briefly, because I want to bring another caller in. What do you see as your mission when you undertake an assignment like this?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Well, you go out to seek as much of the truth as you can find, not only about soldiers in combat, but as Donatella and David have said, how it impacts the people, the innocents who are caught between opposing sides. In any war, it's always the civilians who are the most terrible victims of war.

MARTIN: It's been said though of your reporting that you were kind of the soldier's eyes in the field. Do you think that's fair? That you told the story from the soldier's point of view. Do you think that's accurate?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Well, I've tried to do that. I spend a lot of time with soldiers in the field, and tell their stories. But the other story is always wrapped around or caught in between the soldier's story.

MARTIN: Let's bring another caller into the conversation. Here's William in Washington, D.C. Welcome, William.

WILLIAM (Caller): Hi, thanks for having me. You know, my concern is just that sometimes the pressure might be such on the reporters to get a story out that it's not always accurate. And the example I give, I was stationed at the United States Central Command's forward headquarters in Qatar. And we always had CNN on in the JOC, the Joint Ops Center, all the time, 24 hours.

And something would happen in-theater, and then we'd see something related to it and it was just, it never seemed to be on mark. And my concern was just that maybe, and it wasn't just CNN, I don't want to pick on them, we had other stations we could see too. But that it just wasn't always accurate.

MARTIN: And William, you attribute that to the competition?

WILLIAM: I think it has more to do with just a need to, for these folks to get a story out.


WILLIAM: They need to get something out fast. Maybe, is it beating the other networks? Just beating another paper? I don't know that. But that was just my feeling.

MARTIN: Thank you, William. What about that, Donatella, that the pressure to get the story out leads to problems in accuracy?

Ms. LORCH: I think there's huge amount of pressure to get the story out, particularly in television, particularly in cable television, where beating another cable network by a few seconds puts you on top of everything. There's also, I mean the news business has changed tremendously in 20 years. We used to file by telex, now we file, we have satellite phones that fit in our pocket.

And it is one of the challenges of journalism. American journalism is now going through a tremendous self-analysis. They have to figure out where they stand and where they're going and no one has found out the answer right now, particularly now that newspapers and networks and television stations are closing down overseas bureaus, therefore limiting their people on the ground in all these places, and are doing massive numbers of layoffs.

MARTIN: Are you suggesting, you know, actually, let me bring David Turnley into this conversation. David, you know, a lot of people are familiar with pictures of photographers in a scrum, you know, sort of scrambling over each other to get sort of the same picture, you know, the British royals and things of that sort. Does that sort of thing occur in a war zone? Are you, are you really scrambling for the same tragic picture? And does that affect, in your view, say the accuracy or the quality of the work?

Mr. TURNLEY: The photographic colleagues of mine who I've worked around the world with for the last 20 years is an interesting, noble group of people. And one of the aspects of what they're about is that not unlike my written companions, colleagues, Donatella, Joe and others, these people have to be very resourceful, they have to be able to navigate through different cultures, different languages very quickly, and they tend to be people who function actually fairly well with a great deal of solitude. I would say that the vision or the, yeah, the idea of a photojournalist in war zones in a scrum, so to speak, is probably not an accurate vision at all. We tend to work, you know, covering a war, there's very, there are different aspects of that.

MARTIN: A scrum being, of course, David, just, I guess, a big knot of folk all pushing and shoving to get the same shot.

Mr. TURNLEY: Yeah, there are different aspects that we're trying to photograph and document. On the one hand, we're trying to document the actual conflict, the results of war. On the other hand, we're trying to actually make some sense of the society in which this conflict is taking place. And that means we're spending a lot of time with families, and that's very intimate time where we're spending most of our time absolutely alone with, with these people, and it's a very privileged time. And that's probably in my case, probably more like 90 percent of the work that I've done in war zones around the world.

MARTIN: We need to take a short break. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And we're back with Joe Galloway and Donatella Lorch, two distinguished war correspondents, as well as David Turnley, who is a distinguished Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer. Joe Galloway, you take the long view here, since you've covered a number of these conflicts, and you've also spanned the kinds of differences in technology that Donatella was talking about earlier. Do you think that there is a diminishment, say, in the quality of the reporting because of the need to be first?

Mr. GALLOWAY: I'm not at all sure that's the case, you know. In Vietnam, communications were very primitive and very difficult. You could spend two or three days out on operation and come back in and might spend eight to ten hours on the military phone system dictating 400 or 500 words to your office back in Saigon. So you know, there was, and that was, I was working for a wire service where, you know, a ten minute beat's worth a lot. Very competitive.

MARTIN: But do you think, I guess, what the basic question is, do you think that there's something big missing here because there's a rush to be first, which is damaging the quality of the work?

GALLOWAY: Well, I think there's some of that in the cable news thing because they have a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week news hole that they're trying to fill and they tend to move things out very quickly, live, sometimes without context and without thinking about what it is they're saying. I liken it to the images in our old textbooks of the coal gang down in the hold of the ship, feeding the shovels of coal into the boilers, you know, and it's unending. And sometimes that detracts, I think, from quality.

MARTIN: Here's another caller. Jill in Denver, Colorado. Jill, welcome.

JILL (Caller): Hi. I'm calling because my brother-in-law is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, and he works for AP, and he's been in a lot of the similar arenas, Western Africa, Jerusalem, a lot of those places. And when he comes home to us and we finally get a chance to see him and talk to him, he won't talk to us very much about his experiences. And we can't decide if it's because he's trying to shelter us from the reality or if it's the way he copes with the situations. And I just wondered if you guys had any comments because the kind of person that David, I think, just described, this person who can work well in solitude, etcetera, describes him perfectly. I'm sure that's why he's doing what he's doing. But just wondered if you guys have those same kind of experiences.

MARTIN: David, can you help us with that?

Mr. TURNLEY: I'm probably exactly the opposite of that. First of all, people have always asked me how, it seems that when people encounter me they're surprised that I seem to still be fairly well balanced, and they ask me how I can attribute that. And I would say that as a photographer, one of the things that I attribute that to is that I think the process of making photographs of the tragedy that I've witnessed is in itself a catharsis, it's a very tangible evidence of what I experienced. So it doesn't get stuck in my head. But in conjunct to that, I find that when I come home from travel, no matter whether it's been in a war zone or otherwise, that it's very important for me to be surrounded by friends and family and to talk and to really get it out.

MARTIN: Donatella, what about you? Are you a talker or a not talker?

Ms. LORCH: I think I'm a bit of both. First of all, I think I guessed who your brother-in-law is. When I came back from Rwanda, I tried, and came back to the United States, I tried to talk about what I'd seen and what I'd witnessed. And I found that most people just turned off instinctively after about ten seconds of listening to me, and so I sort of withdrew into myself. People around me often are just interested in just five minutes' worth of stuff and not in listening to in-depth stories. Even within my family, my mother will listen but my sister doesn't have the time. It's not her fault. I love her very much. And we get it in bits and pieces over time, so I'm a mixture of both. I think over time you just realize that some people just don't want to listen to you and some people do.

MARTIN: But what could she do to help? Very quickly, Donatella. What could she do to support this family member and, who she loves and who wants, she wants to support him in the way he wants to be supported? What can she do? Very quickly.

Ms. LORCH: I would honestly just be very direct and say, You know, I'm very interested in hearing what you have to say. And then do a bit of reading up on what your loved one has witnessed and seen, and know the places a bit more and the culture a bit more, and I bet you he'll open up.

MARTIN: Thank you. I hope that helps, Jill. And when we come back, we'll talk more about the peril and purpose of war reporting plus our opinion page feature. This week, unemployment in the Middle East. Stay with us. I'm Michel Martin. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

Right now we wrapping up our conversation about war reporting. Our guests are Joe Galloway, co-author of the best-selling book, We Were Soldiers Once and Young, and a military affairs correspondent for Knight Ridder; Donatella Lorch, former national correspondent for Newsweek; and David Turnley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and a staff photographer for Getty Images.

David, if I could just start with you, our last segment with you. Just briefly, is there any photograph you would not take?

Mr. TURNLEY: Yeah, I think there actually is. As I look at the world when I'm in the midst of war zones, I certainly understand a responsibility to try to document reality and truth and to be as fair as I can. I'm also very conscious, I have to say, of how it is that I am trying to touch people, because that, in fact, is my mission.

And I think that one of the challenges that photojournalists face today is actually the possibility of, in a world where we are so saturated with images, particularly now with so many different 24-hour cable television networks that bring such live images around the clock into people's lives, I think that one of the real challenges is not simply to, by repeatedly documenting the same kind of situation, to in effect desensitize people to what I think they need to be very sensitive to. I've always found that to be about as direct as I can, that actually in the midst of war zones that, when I can witness, document life next to death, it's a much more moving reminder of the tragedy of war than death itself.

MARTIN: Donatella, what story has stuck with you more than any other?

Ms. LORCH: Probably two. One in Afghanistan and the other one in Rwanda. And I think the story in Rwanda that always comes back to me is not necessarily the death that was ubiquitous, but coming across my first site, genoc-, murder, massacre site, and just seeing the contradiction between these beautiful flowers and the total isolation and the quietness of the place, and then coming, entering the church courtyard and watching this carpet of bodies and skulls lying in front of me.

MARTIN: And what does that mean to you now? You describe it so vividly, clearly it's still with you. What do you draw from that? What does it mean?

Ms. LORCH: I can still smell it. I think that smell was a sense that I developed in Rwanda. When I left Rwanda I was convinced man was basically evil, and it's taken me a long time to digest that and step beyond that. And right now that story means for me that there is a redemption and that you have to work hard at trying to tell the facts and getting people to listen and to pay attention and through their own job and their own voice, try to make a difference. What hurt me and angered me about Rwanda, that I didn't feel I was making a difference and the world just stood by.

MARTIN: Do you ever, Donatella and also Joe Galloway, I want to ask you this question, do you ever envision a time when we will not need your services?

Ms. LORCH: You mean journalist services?

MARTIN: I mean war correspondents?

Ms. LORCH: I think, and I'll let Joe answer this, but I think we're part, journalism is part of, and journalists are part of one of the bastions of democracy.

Mr. GALLOWAY: There's no way I can see in the foreseeable future that the world will be without war, as much as we may pray for that. And those who have seen it pray harder than those who have not. I can't see it, because it has occupied my whole life, from the time that I was just a little kid growing up until today. And tomorrow.

MARTIN: When is it time for you to stop? When is it time to hang up the notebook?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Oh, I don't know. I've been told...

MARTIN: And don't get me wrong, we love your work. We don't want you to go anywhere.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Oh, well, I think this last trip to Iraq convinced me that war corresponding is a game for young people. It's very hard on older bones when it's cold and damp and muddy and you're wearing 35 pounds of body armor and a Kevlar, and your neck hurts, and your back hurts. And once again, you're standing in the mud beside a crashed helicopter and looking at the faces of the dead being brought out. Things like that. You hear the rattle of the rifles and machine guns. And enough. Enough. I've done it enough. Forty-one years is enough. I'm not going to do that anymore.

MARTIN: Donatella, what about you? When is it time?

Ms. LORCH: Well, I'm on temporary hiatus right now. I have four kids, including an 11-month-old, and leaving the 11-month old, even for the day to go to work or for a few days to go on a trip, is extremely traumatic for me. And I didn't go back to Iraq. My three oldest ones begged me not to go to Iraq during the most recent American invasion. And they allowed me to go to Afghanistan. Afghanistan was okay in their eyes, but they were very, very upset. And I listened to them, and I decided not to go.

So I think for the moment, as they're at this very sensitive age, I'm just going to sit back. I do want to go back, and I do want to go back to these countries and I want to write about the effects of war.

MARTIN: This is wonderful, and I think we all appreciate your work. As a journalist certainly I appreciate your work. And I think that the people who've called in today appreciate the work and the sacrifices that each of you has been willing to make personally, and those of your families for you to do the work that you've done. So thank you all for coming in. Joe Galloway and Donatella Lurch, and David Turnley in New York. Thank you all.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Thank you.

Ms. LORCH: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

Mr. TURNLEY: Thank you.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.