UPDATE: 8/17/21: CNN Reporter Clarissa Ward Fears for Future of Afghan Women
The CNN chief international correspondent just released a new book called On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist.
Clarissa says it is a privilege to have a front row seat to history and to bear witness to both the best and the worst of humanity during her 15-year career reporting for Fox, ABC, CBS and now CNN.
She has covered front lines across the globe, from the battle for Mosul [Iraq] to the battle to defeat ISIS in Syria, ten months after giving birth.
In war-town northern Syria, she met with the men of the Idlib Martyr’s Brigade and their self-proclaimed leader Muhanned, after illegally crossing the border from Turkey in February 2012. She says she and her producer Ben Plesser were full of nerves at the time.
But it was the untold stories that inspired her to write On All Fronts. Clarissa began writing her book during her first maternity leave over two years ago as a letter to her son, but it evolved into a “love letter to journalism.” She says it “animates her to give voice” to those who have no voice.
“You’re talking about human beings who, even though they may be from the other side of the world and have a completely different value system and different cultural norms to us, are people,” Ward says.
I talked with Clarissa from London where she is on maternity leave. Yes, she just gave birth to a book and her second son, Casper, during a pandemic!
- how she found her calling
- coping with fear while reporting from war zones
- what stories are being underreported
- what sets her apart from other journalists
- her advice to budding journalists (“perfect is the enemy of good; just get the story out”)
- why she is so passionate about her work in Syria, and so much more.
(Plus, how we both started our journalism careers as stand-ins: me for Molly Ringwald, Clarissa for Uma Thurman!)
Be sure to tune in to this gutsy, fascinating and heroic correspondent on our The Women’s Eye podcast. On All Fronts is not only the education of a journalist, but an education for the reader.
And check out the latest New York Times profile of Clarissa following her recent trips to Afghanistan.
Here is the vidcast. Enjoy!
Also, check out our interview with another fascinating journalist, Heidi Levine, international combat photographer and working mother: