Segments in this Video

Working in Battle Zone (04:33)


Reuters journalist Finbarr O'Reilly prepares to enter combat in West Africa and speaks to his psychiatrist about the challenges of reentering society after an assignment. This film contains graphic content.

Journalist's Altar (02:23)

View footage of a reporter surrounded by an angry mob. St. Bride's Church in London dedicates a service to the 900 war correspondents that have died in the past twenty years.

Dangers of Combat Reporting (02:22)

It has become common for journalists to lose their lives on the front line. View footage of reporters being attacked; ITN London Jon Steele describes what drew him to the field.

Prophets of Suffering (02:30)

Steele explains why war journalists "need" people to die for reporting purposes. View footage of war zones in Africa and Bosnia.

Psychological Challenges of War Reporting (04:47)

Steele reads a passage from his book describing a nervous breakdown after witnessing a child killed by a sniper in Sarajevo.

Absurdity of War Reporting (03:55)

CBC News journalist Susan Ormiston describes the challenges of balancing career and family and reentering society from a combat zone.

Coping with War Reporting PTSD (05:49)

Associated Press journalist Ian Stewart was shot by a child soldier while covering Sierra Leone's civil war. He began painting watercolors to forget atrocities he saw.

Passport to War (04:30)

O'Reilly explains how being a photographer allows him into combat zones and mitigates his fear under attack. He covers a NATO air strike in Libya and Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Acknowledging War Reporting PTSD (04:08)

O'Reilly suffers from depression after returning from assignments. New agencies are now providing mental health services for combat journalists; psychiatrist Anthony Feinstein councils employees over the phone.

Addicted to War Reporting (04:25)

A combination of PTSD and psychological injury changes journalists' personalities. New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges describes attacking an airport employee involuntarily.

Loneliness of War Reporting (05:11)

PTSD and a combat lifestyle affect combat journalists' personal relationships. London reporter Christina Lamb addresses the perception that female correspondents with children are irresponsible.

Separating Combat from Home Life (01:25)

Lamb doesn't discuss the danger of war reporting with her husband—including being sexually harassed while covering Middle Eastern countries.

Social Alienation (03:15)

War reporters describe difficulty with "normal" life and relationships after combat zones.

Drawn to War (04:46)

Times of London journalist Anthony Loyd describes becoming addicted to near death experiences and covering Grozny bombardments. Despite suffering flashbacks, he is skeptical of PTSD.

Losing Colleagues (04:23)

Loyd and Stewart describe guilt and depression at the death of Kurt Schork and Miguel Gil Moreno while reporting in Sierra Leone.

Sacrificing Life for Journalism (01:39)

O'Reilly was in Libya with Tim Hetherington when Hetherington was killed by a shell. Two months earlier Hetherington's war documentary "Restrepo" had been nominated for an Oscar.

Documenting a Journalist's Death (04:55)

View photos of journalists--who died in conflict--at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The BBC's Jeremy Bowen describes PTSD symptoms after losing a colleague in Lebanon.

Combat Nightmares (03:03)

War journalists describe reliving their experiences as a symptom of PTSD—causing them to disconnect from reality and abuse alcohol.

Ethics of Combat Journalism (05:44)

War reporters discuss suicide as a way of escaping PTSD symptoms. Kevin Carter killed himself after being criticized for photographing a child near death in Sudan—PTSD also played a role.

Powerless to Stop Atrocities (04:34)

Paul Watson feels that documenting combat makes him a participant on some level. His discusses how a physical disability has affected his professional identity, including the decision to take risks in Afghanistan.

Documenting Blackhawk Down (08:31)

Watson describes the moral struggle of photographing Staff Sergeant Cleveland’s desecrated corpse in Mogadishu, and his desire for forgiveness.

Living with War Journalism (01:33)

Watson believes that reporters are drawn to combat by personality flaws—but are responsible for their career choice.

Credits: Under Fire: Journalists in Combat (01:39)

Credits: Under Fire: Journalists in Combat

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Under Fire: Journalists in Combat

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $179.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $179.95



War journalism has become an increasingly lethal endeavor. Not only are correspondents viewed as targets, they are often subject to kidnapping, torture, and even beheading. This Peabody Award-winning documentary weaves together portraits of journalists and photographers who have survived the physical rigors of their assignments but succumbed emotionally to the trauma of what they experienced. Inspired by the work of Dr. Anthony Feinstein, a neuropsychiatrist on retainer to many of the world’s major media outlets, and with powerful testimony from several combat journalists, the program makes known the psychological cost of covering war. Some content may be objectionable. (90 minutes)

Length: 91 minutes

Item#: BVL55251

ISBN: 978-0-81608-939-0

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Winner, Peabody Award, 2012

“Reckons with its subject in straightforward but engrossingly tough-minded fashion.” —Variety

“A harrowing documentary that details the traumas of combat journalism.” —Hollywood Reporter

“Fascinating and often devastating.” —LA Weekly

“Burke drives home the traumatic nature of working as war correspondents...brutally vivid.” —Los Angeles Times

“A fascinating and powerful commentary...” —The Huffington Post

“Extraordinarily powerful.” —NPR

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video customers.