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Aug 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent’s Dilemma

With Kelly McEvers

“terrifying and beautiful” – Alex Chadwick

“the best thing I’ve heard in a long time” – Scott Carrier

“heartbreaking and resonant, I cannot recommend it enough” – NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

In early 2011, NPR’s Kelly McEvers started to see things in slow motion. She cried unpredictably. She was a correspondent in the turbulent Middle East, in the time of the Arab uprisings. Colleagues and friends were being kidnapped. Some were getting killed. But still, she went toward the story. The next year, 2012, was the deadliest year on record for journalists. It was a huge hit to the “tribe” of war correspondents, the people who choose to go into conflict, to put their bodies at risk to tell these stories.

As she reported from trouble zones across the Middle East she braved gunfire, explosions, and tear gas, but she also recorded diaries. She then turned her reporting skills on her own life, seeking advice from doctors, scientists, and colleagues. Her goal was to answer one question: Why do otherwise intelligent people risk their lives when they don’t have to?

In collaboration with independent producer Jay Allison of Transom.org, the result is a documentary radio hour called Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent’s Dilemma. Come hear the piece and stay for Q and A with producer Kelly McEvers.





Kelly McEvers is a correspondent for National Public Radio. From 2011-2013 she covered the Arab spring and its aftermath, including the Syrian civil war. This reporting earned her the Peabody award, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, a Gracie award, and an Overseas Press Club citation. Before the Arab spring she was based in Iraq, where she reported on the final withdrawal of US troops. Before that she was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Prior to coming to the Middle East, she covered the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia and worked as an independent radio producer in the US.. Kelly’s radio stories have appeared on This American Life, the BBC, the CBC, the Savvy Traveler, Weekend America, and On the Media.

Ann Heppermann is a Brooklyn-based, independent radio/multimedia documentary producer and educator. Her work has aired on numerous public radio stations, including: This American Life, Radiolab, Studio 360, Marketplace and many others.  A Peabody Award-winning producer, she also has received awards from the Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow, and Third Coast International Audio Festival. From 2010-11, she was a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism fellow, reporting on perinatal depression and pre-teen eating disorders for NPR and Ms. Magazine. In 2011, she was named a United States Artists (USA) Fellow with Kara Oehler. Recently, she has been a series producer for Marketplace’s Economy 4.0 series with David Brancaccio, WQXR and Studio 360. She is also a faculty member teaching radio writing and radio drama at Sarah Lawrence College.


Aug 9, 2013
8:30 pm – 11:00 pm

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