Home » News » Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Benjamin Hall on Courage Under Fire: Reporting from the War Zones

Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Benjamin Hall on Courage Under Fire: Reporting from the War Zones

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Join Roger Ream ’76 in this week’s Liberty + Leadership Podcast as he speaks with FOX News correspondent, Benjamin Hall. Roger and Benjamin discuss his recent book, “Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make It Home.”

The book details the story of his survival, his dramatic rescue along with his arduous and ongoing recovery from a horrific missile attack that critically wounded him and killed several of his colleagues while they were reporting from the war in Ukraine. Benjamin recounts the intensity of that day, his long road to recovery and both the physical and emotional challenges he will face for the rest of his life. Additionally, they discuss Benjamin’s experiences reporting from areas of conflict including Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as an especially intense interaction with Ugandan special forces in Mogadishu.

Throughout his tenure with the network, Benjamin has covered numerous breaking news stories, including reporting from the front lines in Ukraine during the Russian invasion, providing coverage in Syria and Iraq during the battle against ISIS and covering wars in Afghanistan and Gaza.

Previously, he was a foreign correspondent based in London, England. In this capacity, he covered President Biden’s first overseas trip to Europe. He also reported on President Trump’s first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia and was in Singapore for the 2019 summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He also contributed to the network’s coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding as well as Prince Philip’s funeral. He has covered elections in numerous countries, interviewed presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, U.S. commanders, ISIS prisoners, and survivors of the genocide against Uyghurs in China.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, a bachelor’s degree from Richmond American University in London and a graduate degree in television journalism from the University of the Arts London. He was an honorary recipient of the Foreign Press Awards from The Association of Foreign Press Correspondents.

Benjamin is the 2023 recipient of TFAS’s Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award for Courageous Journalism.

Upon accepting the Tomlinson award, Benjamin said: “I stand here just to tell all that journalism is essential…it’s the only way to encourage people to change the world.” Read more of his dinner remarks in The Wall Street Journal’s Notable & Quotable and on FOX News.

 


Episode Transcript

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.

Roger Ream [00:00:00] Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Ream and this is the Liberty and Leadership Podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni, supporters, faculty and friends who are making a real impact in public policy, business, philanthropy, law and journalism. Today I’m joined by a very special guest, Benjamin Hall, a correspondent for the FOX News Channel, and our 2023 Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award winner for courageous journalism. Ben is a seasoned reporter on foreign affairs and wars, having reported from Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and many other hot spots around the globe. He’s interviewed world leaders, soldiers on the battlefield and survivors of torture, imprisonment and genocide. He also recently wrote “Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make It Home,” which recounts the horrific missile attack that killed several of Benjamin’s colleagues and began an ordeal of survival, reconstruction, healing and transformation that can only be described as well. There really are no words to describe it. Benjamin Hall is a hero for going where few would choose to go to provide us the public, with the light of truth from war zones. It’s a privilege to have Ben with us today, days before we honor him with our Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award for Outstanding Journalism. Please note that this episode of Liberty and Leadership will air following our dinner. Ben, thank you so much for joining me today.

Benjamin Hall [00:01:46] My pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Roger Ream [00:01:48] I think the first thing I can simply say is, wow. I mean, your book that you’ve written, and the remarkable life you’ve lived is really something. You’ve packed so much into your 40 years. I’ll call it adventure. You’ve done a masterful job in writing this book. It really, literally was one I couldn’t put down. You tell the account of your survival after a Russian missile attack in Ukraine, but also you capture the larger story about courageous journalism and what it takes to be a reporter who travels the world to go into war zones. Your book is a tale of determination, heroism, persistence, love, self-discovery and transformation. You’re so deserving of our honor, and we’re pleased that you’re coming to New York to receive this award. You share the story, rather, of colleagues of yours who’ve taken great risks to report from around the world. So, if I may, let’s start our conversation by asking you to share what it was that motivated you to pursue a career in journalism, because you certainly didn’t take a traditional path. The story you tell of finding Rick Fiedler, I think it was, and heading overseas to do freelancing in conflict zones was quite something. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Benjamin Hall [00:03:17] Yes. I think and I’ve so many times over the last year, I’ve looked back, and I thought, what really set me on the way? What brought me to it? I think it was as a child, first of all, I was fascinated with conflict. My father was a child in the World War II, and he was in a Japanese prison camp from the ages of about eight till twelve, and his parents were killed by the Japanese. The family was torn apart, and it was a big part of my upbringing talking to my father. He went to the U.S., and he served in the U.S. Military in Korea. War had been something that we all talked about, and we watched war movies all the time. So, I think that I grew up and I went to college and at the back of my mind was always this idea of, first of all, that we have it so lucky, but we’re only so lucky because of the sacrifices of those who go out to make the world better. So, almost as soon as I left college, first of all, I knew I wanted to tell stories. I found people amazing. I went to L.A. for about a year. I thought I wanted to be in film, and I just found it so vacuous, and I said: “I don’t want to make movies anymore. It’s not real. I need to speak to people. And then soon after that, I took a flight to Iraq with Rick Fiedler, and I wasn’t a journalist. I had written for some college papers, and I’d done a little bit of work, but I knew I just needed to start. We went out there, we didn’t know who we were going to write for, the stories we were going to tell, and we just started writing and pitching and freelancing and sending into everyone. We did that for quite a few years. So, I think what really got me on to it was this fascination with conflict and a sense of adventure. I want to go and experience amazing things and I never denied what I do is exciting and great, but the thing about covering war is it pulls you in. You start to see stories, terrible stories, some of the most incredibly brave and courageous stories, and you see these up close every day. I just found it gripping and there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do after a few years because I found the stories incredible, but I also found it to be incredibly important. I remember some of the first few articles I wrote for some of the bigger newspapers, The Sunday Times, The New York Times, I started to see people talking about the stories I was writing, and I started to realize that my work has an impact. It changes people’s views. It makes people want to make the world a better place. So, not only did I have the adventure and the excitement, the fascination for conflict, I started to realize how important journalism is as well. And honestly, there hasn’t been a day in the last 15 years that I have regretted what I do because I think I have the best job in the world. Look, eventually we will talk about what happened to me, but people ask me often: “Considering the injuries you have, the prosthetics you are on, would you have changed your career? Would you have gone back and done it again?” And I always say every single time: “Absolutely. I would.”

Roger Ream [00:06:12] You write in your book about narrow escapes you had in in Libya, Somalia, Syria, even Haiti and elsewhere. Many times, you had guns pointed at you by soldiers and others, rebels who and you didn’t know what might happen. I think you said you were hit with shotgun pellets by riot police in Egypt. You note that when you were young, you had the natural feeling that we all have, I guess, as young people of invincibility. Is that a feeling you think is necessary to pursue the kinds of stories that you pursued as a journalist?

Benjamin Hall [00:06:47] Yeah, it’s about finding a real balance between, I was going to say, bravado is not provided, but you got to want to go somewhere. You got to be willing to do it. You got to face your fears in the face, and even if something makes you feel fear, you’ve got to be able to push through because you understand why you’re doing it. I just think that it’s something that you must want to do. Absolutely. I think that’s what all our colleagues have done. So, yes, I set off for a whole lot of different reasons.

Roger Ream [00:07:19] Putting aside for a minute the Russian war in Ukraine. Of the reporting missions you’ve done prior to that, which ones do you think had the largest impact on you?

Benjamin Hall [00:07:30] You know, it’s an interesting question. I mean, the answer is different and for different reasons. So, for example, the story that really, I sort of got me to the next level in my career was writing about ISIS. As a freelancer, I was in and out of Syria and Iraq, and I was close to them. I was one of the only journalists to have spoken to some ISIS members, people who had left ISIS. I wrote a book on ISIS and kind of got me into FOX. So, I spent a lot of time in Syria covering them and in Iraq. So, I think that’s the story that I really found something that I was absolutely fascinated by. It was really a story of good versus evil. I mean, you had the worst terror group versus the people who they whose lives they were destroying. So, I think Syria was amazing, and it was one of the most adventurous stories I’ve done. We crossed deep into Syria behind enemy lines, up to our necks and in water at the middle of the night carrying our gear. We took horses across mountains. We lived in caves for a while. We saw some of the very first attacks on civilians that the Assad troops were carrying out. So, I think that I always say that Syria was one of the most powerful stories in some sense. It’s also one of these countries where you are totally blown away by the courage of people, the kindness of people letting you into their own homes when in some cases the regime was looking for us and they would risk their own lives to help us and save us. So, just torn between the generosity of these people versus the evil in the other side. So, I would say Syria, but I would say as a sense of what changed me in terms of some of the physical things, I’ve seen is Somalia. Somalia was one of the worst things I’ve seen. I was with Ugandan Special Forces in Mogadishu, embedded with them, and al-Shabab had taken over the parliament building. What I saw then was Ugandan Special forces went into the parliament building and they butchered those guys. I mean, it was it was some of the most up close, violent and bloody things. That changed me. So, that wasn’t like the inspiring story like Syria was. That was a moment that I came back and for the first time ever, I realized I was a different person in a sense. So, every story changes you in a different way. Every story you meet someone whose life is going to be totally changed and each one of those stays with you in a little way. So, they’ve all been amazing. They’ve all been so different, and all been so fascinating.

Roger Ream [00:09:49] You talk in your book, I mean, you recount all of these in great descriptive detail. You talk about getting stuck for a little bit in barbed wire trying to escape from Syria to Turkey and people who did take risks to help you along the way and all these conflicts. This questions in some sense a simple one, but I want to ask it. And that is, why is it important for journalists to take these kinds of risks and go into conflicts and war zones to report information to the rest of us?

Benjamin Hall [00:10:19] No, I think journalism is about knowledge. It’s about knowing what’s going wrong so you can both evaluate your own life, but you can also push for it to change. Now what happens in conflict is even harder to get out. I mean, it is essential that we know what’s going on and it’s essential that we understand it, because I always look back to World War II and to some of the wars that went on, and I’m not of this belief that we have finished with all the great wars. I’m constantly worried that we might end our way into another one. And of course, you look at China right now, you look at Ukraine and Russia, you look at Iran right now. I just think there are some real fears. So, that’s why I think it’s so important. I want everyone to see what’s going on in conflict, and I want everyone to be aware that all the people who, like many of the people I’ve interviewed, thought at some point in the last 15 years that their life was better and that their country was changing. I can’t tell you how many people are just so surprised. You say: “Wow, 20 years ago I was living a wonderful life in a country that I thought was peaceful and moving forward, and here we are in some of the worst conflict you’ve seen.” So, I just want people to remember that we are so lucky to have peace, but we’ve got to work at that peace, and we work at that peace by seeing what’s going on around the world, and we must learn from the mistakes and to learn from the things we do right, only by seeing it can you really do that.

Roger Ream [00:11:39] Your book covers the events on the morning of March 14th, 2022, when you and two of your colleagues went to the village in Ukraine, to film a story. That’s when Russian missiles tragically took the lives of two of your colleagues and two soldiers and left you severely injured. Would you mind recounting that experience when the second bomb landed near your car?

Benjamin Hall [00:12:05] Yes, absolutely. Well, we were out in this town called Karanka. It had been largely destroyed by Russian shelling and it was totally abandoned. We had believed we got an Intel that the Russians are about 30 miles away, which I don’t know if that sounds close or far for us. It sounds like a long way away. When you’re used to being up close and sometimes, you know, 20m from these guys sometimes. So, anyway, we filmed for a couple of hours. I remember leaving, thinking we got a great story with some of the first journalists to come in and to see the devastation that Russian forces have carried out. It was abandoned. As we were driving back in towards Kiev, we stopped to this abandoned checkpoint, and as the car slowed down, that first bomb came out of nowhere, just out of the sky. And that whistle that I’ve heard numerous times before and that first, we don’t know if it was a shell or whether it was a drone, but that first bomb landed about 30ft in front of the car. Immediately, they were close to reverse the car, reverse the car, and I’d say five, six to ten seconds later, the second bomb hit right next to the car itself and black me out. I know that I got the fatal injuries at that point. I was wearing body armor and a helmet, and they saved my life, but and I got the shrapnel in the eye, and I know that I got big shrapnel in my in my neck. I was totally out cold, and I was in this black place, no sound or quiet, and I saw my daughter. I physically saw my daughter right in front of me, in my head, and she just said to me: “Daddy, you’ve got to get out of the car,” and it brought me back. I call it a miracle, I sometimes do, something came to me. Whether it’s just your strong belief in family or whether it was something more spiritual, I didn’t know. But I came back, and I opened my eyes and without even thinking, I grabbed for the door of the car, and I was pulling my way. I got out of the car, one foot out of the car, and the third bomb hit the car itself. That one threw me away and I was knocked down again, and the next thing I know, I wake up, I’m on fire, my right leg is gone, my left foot largely gone, and I was badly burned. Pierre was alongside me; he was about 15ft away and immediately said: “Pierre,” and he said: “Don’t move, Russian drones, Russian drones.” And so, I didn’t move for a bit, but I’m looking at myself, and I felt no pain at this point, and the adrenaline was kicking in. No cell phone reception, all the telecoms were down. So, I’m lying now badly injured, and I again say: “Pierre, I’m badly injured. Pierre, we’re going to find a way out of here,” and he said: “It’s the Russians, don’t move.” Pierre didn’t look injured. Pierre cut his femoral artery. That was it in his groin, and he bled out. But I was the one who was terribly injured is what I thought. I was there for about 40 minutes, and eventually this other car came out of nowhere and it drove past our car, which was still burning, and it didn’t stop. It didn’t see me, and I was waving at it. Then I said: “Well, I never thought I was going to die.” I just knew that I would do whatever it took to go home, and I think you find another strength when you’re up against the wall like that, and I just said: “Okay, whatever it is, I’m going home. I’m going home to my children.” And I started dragging myself up, and that car went the wrong way just down the road, and it turned around. It was Ukrainian special forces, and they came back our direction. At that point I was a little bit further up. I had a handful of dirt ready, and I threw it at the car, and they saw me. I remember this one guy jumping out, running across, grabbing me on the ground and pulling me, and it was the second that he started to pull me, and all the pain kicked in. When I found out later, Pierre bled out. The guy checked him next, and he was dead at that point, and then I was taken into a small Ukrainian military hospital. And in a minute, I imagine we’ll talk about how I was saved. That’s what happened on the day itself. That was the attack itself. And then a whole lot of things happened to try and get me out.

Roger Ream [00:16:20] Well, it’s a remarkable story. The survival required so many people who could be described as heroes, even though much of what they were doing was part of the work they perform as part of their routine. But many went above and beyond to save you, and the story you tell in your book is is just remarkable, throughout the book. My eyes were watering up as I read of so many things that transpired there. I guess you should comment on some of this. The Save Your Allies organization, which I wasn’t familiar with, and the remarkable work they do and doctors at hospitals in Ukraine, Germany and in Texas. So, please do mention how that whole process worked that you describe so well in your book.

Benjamin Hall [00:17:12] Well, we had been missing for a few hours and our security team who were waiting back at a certain checkpoint, we didn’t come back. So, when the alert went out that we were gone, straight away, the search was on for us. And then word came through the Ukrainians that there had been a network media team hit. Two people were dead, one was alive, but nobody knew who was alive, who had been killed or where the survivor was. An amazingly, all the networks, when you’re really in the front like that, all the networks were staying at one hotel, and everyone started getting out. CNN, The New York Times went out looking to try and find out. It’s amazing how, despite all the rivalry you might have on TV, we’re all the same out there. So, that started and the Jen Griffin, who is our Pentagon correspondent, she was in the Pentagon, and she heard as well quite quickly that the FOX team, they believe, had been hit. She picked up the phone straight away and she called Sara Harada, who had Save Our Allies, an incredible nonprofit that basically goes in and saves people. It got hundreds of people out of Afghanistan when Afghanistan fell and 2021, in the summer. Those guys went in to try and save people. They were outside the wire pulling people in. Some of these guys are all veterans. There were a couple with a Bronze Stars, Medal of Honor. Amazing people. They came in and they were on the border in Poland. They were getting ready to help the Ukrainians as well. They eventually found out that that I was the one who was still alive, but it was very difficult to get me out because there was a 36-hour curfew. Very few ways of getting in. They couldn’t drive me out because I had big piece of shrapnel in my neck the size of Matchbox, and the roads were so bad. They couldn’t fly me out because surface to air missiles, they couldn’t bring planes in at all. But they set off to find me. They didn’t know how they were going to get me out, and they drove straight for a day and a half through all the Ukrainian checkpoints, and they finally tracked me down. Jen Griffin had been speaking to John Kirby at the Pentagon who had been talking to Austin in the secretary defense. They said: “Look, no boots on the ground, no U.S. boots on the ground. We will not go and get him, we can’t help. We’d like to, but we can’t help. But if you can get him to Poland, we will treat him the military medicine. We will treat him, but we can’t go any further.” So, that was the objective is to get me out. And we didn’t know how to get me out. And then somehow through the intelligence services that was, we found out that the Polish prime minister was on this first secret visit to see Zelensky, and his train was inside Kiev. And if we could get through during this curfew through the city, the Polish prime minister would evacuate me, and I could go out with him. So, we had this incredible nighttime journey where we went checkpoint to checkpoint where the Ukrainians thought we were Russians because there was no cars on the street and they were coming into the ambulances, beating up all ambulance and opening up all my wounds to check if we were serious that I was injured and why we were breaking curfew on the very day we thought Russia was going to invade the city itself. No pain meds at that point, and I remember the pain just really creeping up. But we made it. We made it through the city. We got to the Polish prime minister’s train minutes to spare. Then there was this ten-hour journey on the prime Minister’s train lying there, which was brutal. I mean, that was the moment when I think I had to find more strength, the moment where the pain kicked in. I had traumatic brain injury. My mind wouldn’t stop. I learned the Pierre was dead halfway through that train ride. So, I was in this place where I just had to say to myself: “First of all, the people surrounding you, the people helping you Save Our Allies and everyone else, they’re the experts. The last thing they need is someone complaining or moaning or saying it hurts. You just do what you got to do, and you stay quiet, and you find the next level of strength.” I’m a firm believer that we have far more strength in us than we know we have because when I reached points that I didn’t think I was capable of getting through, I would take a breath and I’d say: “You got this, you’ve got this, you’ve got a little bit more. Just stay quiet. Keep going.” I honestly felt that you could keep the pain down. You could try and put it down. But it was a difficult journey, but it was when I finally we crossed into Poland, been on that train for ten brutal hours, and there was a Black Hawk, and the 82nd Airborne were waiting for me. I remember being lifted and put on that helicopter, and just at this moment, I felt I was saved, I was going home, and I was going to see my family. Very emotional. Very.

Roger Ream [00:21:56] I haven’t mentioned your family and that they play an important role in this. Your wife, Alicia, your daughters, Honor, Iris and Hero, were certainly there with you and motivating you. As your book, the subtitle is “Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make It Home.” That was driving you through that. You beautifully describe how the ordeal transformed you and note that for much of your career, I think you said you cultivated a duality within yourself. You had your career covering conflicts and then you had what I’ll say is your normal life in London as a husband and father. I’ll repeat three beautiful girls since I have three girls myself. I would like to just read a passage and you comment on it because it comes near the end, but it’s wonderful because after describing that duality say: “Then came the attack which obliterated any distinction between my professional and personal selves. It was if the bomb blew me into pieces, literally took me apart. Before the heroes at BAMC and CFI reassembled those pieces and put me back together. But exactly who was the person who emerged from the reconstruction?” And then a little later, you say: “But what I can say without any doubt is that the person who emerged from the bombing, from the more than 20 surgeries, the continually painful rehab, the reconstituted whole band is a better, stronger and more joyful person than he used to be. Life is about moving, changing, doing new things, and I find there are more things for me to do, more challenges for me to embrace now than ever before.” I mean, that’s remarkable that you can go through that ordeal and come out of it feeling so much like a stronger, better person. Could you comment on that?

Benjamin Hall [00:23:49] Look, honestly, I think that the world is a better place now than from before the attack. The way I keep saying, is that it’s one bad thing, one horrible thing happened to me, and it happened to my crew, but I can tell you a thousand great things that happened after that. The people who came out to help, the support I got. People who I didn’t know stop in to help and encouraged me. That’s what sticks with me. It’s the goodness that I’ve seen. You talk about that duality that I had before, and that was difficult because you’d go away and suddenly the phone would ring that been in attack somewhere around the world, terror attack with it being something, a natural disaster or a war, and you were there the next day and you’d be there for three weeks. You’d be figuring it out. You’d be seeing some terrible things, and then you’d fly home again, and that evening you’d be sitting at your kitchen table eating a normal dinner with your family. I don’t want to bring that home to my children either, so I don’t want to talk about it much. So, I had these two parts. I think it was good to keep them divided. But what happened after the attack was that the injuries, they came home. The horror that I saw was now with me forever. It’s with my family forever. It affects them forever. There are two ways of looking at difficult things that happen in life. One is to be held down by them and the other two is jump and push right through them. And I, as someone in general who wants to do more than I did yesterday, every single day, I want to do more. The same is true when I was learning to walk. If I walked five steps on one day, I was going to walk six steps the next. If I could lift this much weight, I was going to lift one more the next day. Life is incredible. You said at the beginning that I have such incredible career. To travel the world, to be at the front row of history, to see it yourself. I think I’m a stronger person because of it. I also think you find a new kind of strength when you are so up against the wall, you don’t know what else to do. That’s what happened to me, and I think that you have to find that level. That’s why I feel not only amazed by the goodness that has happened to me, the kindness, the expertise, the medical side, everything, but I also think that it’s given us all opportunities and you’ve got to make the best of it. If I can share some good like good was given to me and that’s what I want to do. Absolutely.

Roger Ream [00:26:15] If this is a personal question, you don’t need to answer it. But you touch on having grown up with a religious faith. In addition to that love for your wife and daughters pushing you along through all that, did religious faith play a role in this as well?

Benjamin Hall [00:26:32] Yes, it’s interesting because I was raised very strict Catholic. In those Benedictine monasteries, a boarding school for many years. I would say that I sort of had a bit of a wobble for some years. I covered so many conflicts around the Middle East, based on religion. I was wondering if the established religion really does play a role. I always went to church. I always found the peace in church, and I loved that, but I know that what happened that day and I generally try and avoid getting too spiritual about what happened to me. But I know that what happened that day was a miracle in that sense. I mean, I was in the death and if I have been an inch in any other direction, I would be dead. So many things happened. My daughter came to me. And whether that was an angel coming down to me or whether that was just: where do you go, where does your mind go when everything else is taken away? Perhaps it just goes back to your family. But that happened to me, and I do now think, and I said so many prayers throughout this to. When you on that train when I had nothing else. Again, where do you sometimes go. You say: “Lord, please get me home. Take me home.” So, I’ve got an interesting relationship with religion because of so many religions out there. Look, we’re seeing it in Israel right now. Look what religion has done there. It’s incredible. So, there’s sort of great in religion, but around the world as such, negative in at some places, too. So, I’ve always struggled with that. But I’m a firm believer that there is something great out there that we can’t explain.

Roger Ream [00:28:00] Tell me a little bit about things now. I’ve seen you reporting even on Israel and Ukraine, and you had an exclusive interview with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Are you working now mostly from London?

Benjamin Hall [00:28:15] Well, yes. What happened a couple of months ago, I’d done a little bit of work here and there, and I was still having operations which have continued till, I guess a couple months ago. What I said to FOX, I said: “Recovery is done for me now. I’ve done a year and a half to recover. I’ve gone to every single physio, I’ve done everything I’ve had to do, but you’ve got to keep moving forward again,” and I said: “Let’s get back to work.” I’d start doing little pieces at home. I’ll start doing the writing a little bit. Now I’ve just started a podcast talking about a series because you’ve got to keep moving forward. You’ve got to grab the opportunity, but I will say one thing: recovery is fascinating, and it is. I think I described it in the book, it is very boring. I mean, if I must sit and talk to another physio telling me to move this or move that. So, at some point I need to keep moving forward. That’s what the work does, and that comes back to the sense that I think it’s the best job in the world. So, I was itching to get back to work because I love journalism. I think telling stories is amazing. So, I guess I’ve come back to a place that I feel so happy in and that’s working.

Roger Ream [00:29:14] And you mentioned before we started recording this morning that you’re working on a series of podcasts “Saving Heroes.” Can you mention something about that? It sounds fascinating.

Benjamin Hall [00:29:26] Yes. We’ve recorded our first few. It’ll come out on December 4th. It’s called “Searching for Heroes.”  Something terrible happened to me, but I’ve tried to find something good in it and pass that on. Now I am talking to so many other people who have gone through similar things. I’ve spoken to someone who was a survivor of the mass shooting who ran towards the gunman. He brought him down and he saved so many lives. It’s been difficult for him, but he’s created something great out of it to spread that message. I love talking about that kind of arc. There are so many stories out there of amazing heroes, and I think it makes our community stronger. One thing about the news that I’ve done my whole career, the one thing that’s changed for me is that I’ve spent 15 years telling the worst stories in the world. Yes, incredible moments of beauty and war, and there’s courage in this family and they’re great things, but they’re sad, they’re bad stories. One thing that has changed is that I think we don’t spend enough time talking about the great, the positive, the good. Reminding ourselves of that binds us together. That’s a backbone in America, and that’s what we got to tell as well as the bad. You’ve got to tell both sides. So, that’s some of the work I’m doing now. I’m continually covering geopolitics, but I also want to remind our viewers that there’s great out there. There’s good out there. We are better than we are. So, my podcast and the series, which will come out next year, will be about reminding people about the good as well as the bad.

Roger Ream [00:30:44] Well, this has been great. I’m mindful of our time. I want to thank you. I especially mindful of things in the Hall household with your wife and your beautiful daughters and getting you free for dinner with them. Your book is “Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make It Home.” I promise anyone listening that if read this book, you won’t be able to put it down. It’s an incredible book, incredible life and story you’ve shared with us. I appreciate it very much. God bless you. We look forward to seeing you at the TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner very soon. Thank you so much for joining me today, Ben.

Benjamin Hall [00:31:24] Oh, it’s a pleasure. Can I just say how honored I am to be receiving the Kenneth Y. Tomlinson Award as well and how old I am to be coming to the dinner on Tuesday to meeting you in person, because that’s one of the great things. It’s about passing and it’s about talking about it. So, thank you. Thank you for having me on. I look forward to seeing on Tuesday.

Roger Ream [00:31:40] We will have a lot of young aspiring journalists in the audience, so they need to hear your story. So, thank you.

Benjamin Hall [00:31:48] Thanks very much.

Roger Ream [00:31:49] Thank you for listening to the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Please don’t forget to subscribe, download like or share the show on Apple, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast. If you like this episode, I ask you to rate and review it. And if you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org. The Liberty and Leadership Podcast is produced at kglobal studios in Washington, D.C. I’m your host, Roger Ream, and until next time, show courage in things large and small.


About the Podcast

TFAS has reached more than 46,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.

Join TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 as he reconnects with these outstanding alumni to share experiences, swap career stories, and find out what makes their leadership journey unique. With prominent congressmen, judges and journalists among the mix, each episode is sure to excite your interest in what makes TFAS special.

If you have a comment or question for the show, please email podcast@TFAS.org.

View future episodes and subscribe at TFAS.org/podcast.

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