News Blog

How I Got That Story – CJR

Explosive situation

By The Editors
Jan. 2, 2013
Columbia Journalism Review

Redfern_Gastronomica_UXO_03In 2005, Jerry Redfern and Karen Coates were in Laos reporting a story on the Plain of Jars region for Archaeology magazine, and they kept meeting people who had a “bomb problem.” The husband-and-wife team—he’s a photographer, she’s a writer—had lived in Southeast Asia for a number of years, and they were not unfamiliar with the problem of unexploded ordnance leftover from US bombing during the Vietnam War. But until this trip, they hadn’t fully understood, as they put it, “the daily deadliness” of it. They decided it was a story they needed to pursue. Using old US Air Force maps to guide them to areas that were heavily bombed, they spent the next several years talking to the farmers and scrap-metal hunters for whom the risk of death or serious injury is a daily reality. READ MORE