Journalist, author and filmmaker Sebastian Junger and his colleague Tim Hetherington were nominated for an Academy Award in 2011 for their documentary, Restrepo. In April of that year, Hetherington was killed while covering the conflict in Libya and Junger found himself making a film about his fallen friend. Which Way is the Frontline From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington airs on HBO April 18th.
After his latest Real Time appearance, we spoke with Sebastian Junger about RISC, the organization he founded to try and prevent another such tragedy.
Real Time: Sebastian, thank you so much for coming. It's always a pleasure to have you here on the show.
Sebastian Junger: Thank you. I'm very psyched to be here.
RT: One of the things that you didn't get to talk about on the show was the program that you started, RISC. Can you tell me a little about that?
SJ: Yeah, Tim bled out from a shrapnel wound. It wasn't necessarily a mortal wound...He was in the city of Misurata in Libya; he was hit with shrapnel, he bled out. And none of the journalists around him knew what to do. He might've survived, but no one knew what to do. So I started a medical training program for freelance war reporters. It's completely free. I bring 'em to New York and put them up in a hotel and we train them in combat medicine. It's called Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues, RISC.
RT: How many people have you helped so far?
SJ: Well, we just started this, so we've trained 72 journalists so far. There's probably a thousand out there that we have to get to. They've rendered aid, but not lifesaving aid yet. Thank God, right? No one has been in that situation yet.
RT: And how is this funded?
SJ: It's funded through charity, through donations from people who are concerned and appreciate the fact that very brave journalists are out there, trying to report the news in very dangerous situations.
The website is risctraining.org. Ten dollars would help, 50 bucks would help. We're doing good work. I think that we're going to save lives.
RT: Thank you so much, Sebastian. We'll see you next time.
SJ: Thank you.