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War Reporting: One Journalist’s Story


Elizabeth Rubin, Instructor 

War journalism has the same requirements as all narrative story-telling. It demands intellect and emotion, but the intellect can often get lost in the "fog of war." How do you sift through a war to extract not just a compelling narrative but also the truth? Today, war reporters are “embedded” with the people they are writing about. An "embed" is a bizarrely intimate arrangement, as the word itself implies. As a reporter, how do you stay true both to an audience and to your subjects, who have exposed nearly every inch of themselves to you--sleeping, brushing their teeth, and even watching their friends die? How do you explain that you have also "embedded" with the Taliban--their mortal foe?  In this seminar, teachers will learn about Elizabeth Rubin’s war reporting in Afghanistan and her process of writing about it for The New York Times.
An independent journalist, Elizabeth Rubin has reported extensively about international conflicts for publications including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Bidoun, Vogue, Time, and National Geographic. At the Cullman Center she is working on a book about three men who tried to change the world: one with guns, one
 with laws, and one with social media, storytelling, and faith.


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  • Audience: Teachers

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