When CNN’s chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward was pregnant with her son nearly three years ago, she began writing a letter to him in an effort to explain some of the amazing events she’s covered as a field reporter for FOX News, ABC News, CBS News, and, later, CNN.
Ward, 40, has spent time in the Middle East and Russia, covering some of the world’s largest stories, including the Syrian uprising, the Ukrainian revolution, and much more. That initial letter to her son expanded into a memoir,On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist, published in April.
“I wanted to give him a sense of who I am other than his mother...It’s also a love letter to journalism, and a reminder of why we do it and why it’s so important,” she says.
Ward’s path to conflict reporter, she says, started during her senior year at college, after 9/11 happened. “I became very interested in this idea that there was a terrible communication problem in the world between cultures and a hatred that came out of that. I had always loved traveling and telling stories, but I became fixated on the idea of being a communicator between different cultures.” Below, Ward, who’s currently based in London for CNN, recommends five books by journalists that have helped inform her and make her a better conflict reporter.