Iraq, Four Months Later

I was just scrolling through a bunch of the photos I shot while I was in Iraq for New Hampshire Public Radio. It’s a bit crazy to think it has only been four months since I was getting on a C-130 headed for Victory Base in Baghdad, but I’m itching to do something like that again. It was terrifying, didn’t always go right, and it was probably a bigger leap than I intended. There were nights when I wanted nothing more than to be home (especially after I missed my flight), but it was a fantastic experience all the same.

I’m not sure what the future of reporting is, but I know the places where we have to scroll through pictures to remind ourselves we were there are the places that likely need another set of eyes. I’ve been watching the latest iterations of the Arab spring thinking that’s impossibly fertile ground for stories, ground far to threatening to just dive into. But that is where the stories are.

I’ve been covering a murder case for several weeks now. The experience has been revealing for me. Watching roving reporters elbow each other out of the way for details that they’ll all get eventually illuminates exactly why people look down on the profession. The best day for me as a reporter in this story was when I found out who the father of Krista Dittmeyer’s child was. The worst was the following day, waiting in a parking lot alongside every other reporter for the official word on the body in the pond.

Show up in Libya right now, and I’m in the parking lot. There will be better financed reporters just itching to broadcast the story, one that is essentially spoon-fed. But somewhere out there is the story no one is paying attention to. It’s in some random place, where everyone else already isn’t. Those are the stories worth telling.

And looking back on Iraq, that has become the story no one tells. It’s crazy that people acknowledge we have 50,000 troops there, but it still isn’t enough to be the national story.

To hell with national, tell the story that needs telling. What that is right now? I’m not sure, but I think it’s time to start digging…

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