Karen Russo: War Correspondent

By Sarah

Back in March, I went to a weekend journalism conference at Smith College in Massachusetts, a women’s college where I went for undergrad. One of the last presenters on the last day of the conference was Karen Russo, a fellow Smithie from the class of ’96 who is now an international correspondent for ABC News.

Now based in ABC’s New Delhi, India bureau, Russo reports on and off the air for TV, radio and online. But it was her previous work that really grabbed my attention: She’s worked in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a war correspondent.

At the conference, Russo described how she had to start working out months before the assignment in order to carry around 200 pounds’ worth of camera equipment — and that’s on top of the already cumbersome protective clothing she had to wear. She described jumping out of helicopters, bombs detonating and dealing with truth-bending military personnel as if it were another day at the office. Ironic, considering the way the lifestyles of the Iraqi and Afghani women down the street.

Russo was smart, down-to-earth and, well, nice. She loves her job, and no, she does not have a family. In fact, she said she hasn’t even got a thread of a social life, a fact that drew a fake-dramatic sigh from her mother in the audience.

Hey, you can’t have everything.

Oh — and before starting at ABC, Russo was a print journalist. Maybe someday I’ll go to war.

(Watch one of Russo’s pieces here. I love her question, “Does it ever seem strange that no one comes out of their homes and asks why you’re on their land?”)

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