Tyler Hicks Gets “Fresh Air”

Terry Gross brings out the best in everyone she interviews.

Today the gently probing, always insightful “Fresh Air” host sat down with Tyler Hicks.

Tyler Hicks

The New York Times photographer — a Westport native and 1988 Staples graduate — spoke about a variety of topics, from the back story of his Pulitzer Prize-winning shots of last year’s Nairobi mall massacre to being kidnapped in Libya with fellow Times photographer (and Staples grad) Lynsey Addario.

He also talked about performing CPR on Anthony Shadid, after the Times reporter suffered an asthma attack while sneaking across the Turkey-Syria border. Hicks said that telling Shadid’s wife and young son what had happened was “the saddest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

When Gross asked Hicks how covering war has affected him, he referenced Compo Beach:

Not long after [an assignment in Afghanistan] I was back in the states, I was in Connecticut with my sister and we were just going for a run. We were down by the beach in my hometown and there was some work being done on a house and there was a hydraulic nail gun that they were using and it really sounds a lot like incoming gunfire with this thing.

As we were running they put a few nails in and I literally almost hit the ground and my sister’s reaction was like, “Oh my God, you should look at yourself, man. You totally thought you were just being shot at.”

And it’s true; you can’t deny that that’s a natural protective instinct that you gain through these things.

A commenter on the “Fresh Air” website wrote: “This story should remind us that there are indeed real journalists still out there risking everything so that we may see what is happening on this crazy, beautiful, dangerous, delicious little planet of ours.”

To hear the entire interview, read excerpts and view some of Hicks’ photos, click here.

Plainclothes officers rushed into the Westgate mall. Hicks accompanied them, knowing well that many terrorists remained inside. He feared not only guns but explosives around every corner. (Tyler Hicks, The New York Times – September 22, 2013)

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