Fox News’ Trey Yingst Writes Heart-Wrenching Op-Ed On Covering Ukraine War


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

A popular Fox News correspondent who has spent months covering the bloody war in Ukraine has written a gut-wrenching op-ed recounting his experiences and how he has been trying to deal with the mental anguish of what he witnessed while on assignment.

“The past year, while covering the war in Ukraine, I have reported under incoming fire, seen lifeless bodies strewn across landscapes, and experienced complex grief that I still process today,” Yingst wrote in USA Today. “I know firsthand the rush of adrenaline that clouds your ability to process emotions.

“War changes you as a person. I’ve reported around the world, but the invasion of Ukraine has been especially difficult to bear witness to,” he added.

Yingst noted further that, according to research, 92 percent of journalists encounter a minimum of four traumatic events during their careers. Journalists across the globe face various traumatic situations every year, such as mass shootings, natural disasters, and global conflicts. Therefore, he continued. it is essential to provide education, easy access to mental health resources, and information on effective coping mechanisms to maintain the well-being of individuals in our industry.

It is imperative to prioritize the mental health of reporters to ensure that they can remain productive, healthy, and active in journalists careers, he continued.


“In the days after Russia invaded on Feb. 24, analysts said Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv could fall in a matter of days. As missiles rained down on the city and incoming artillery got closer, everyone covering the story had to make difficult decisions about their personal risk tolerance,” he wrote. “I decided I would stay, even when most of our crew pulled out. It wasn’t a question for me. I don’t regret my choice, but the decision has altered my life and mind forever.”

He added:

We feel OK, until we don’t. For many, post-traumatic stress disorder is not a cut or wound that stings immediately, but rather a dull scar that remains dormant until a sound, a dream or a smell brings memories rushing back in a way that makes it hard to distinguish reality from imagination. 


Everyone talks about the live reports amid incoming artillery, the front-line packages and the brushes with danger. Rarely do we discuss what it feels like to get home from a monthslong assignment and lie there in silence. We don’t talk about the nightmares, the survivors’ guilt or the loss of identity from getting too consumed by the story. That needs to change.

As journalists covering war, conflict, and unrest, the Fox News correspondent continued, there is a responsibility to destigmatize the conversation around mental health and provide support to colleagues throughout the industry, who may encounter trauma in varying forms.

He added that journalists with similar experiences must offer guidance to ensure that all reporters feel comfortable discussing their mental health and have access to appropriate resources to manage their emotions and well-being. It is crucial to prioritize the mental health of all individuals in the media industry to create a supportive and sustainable work environment, he said.


“Historically, the profession has romanticized drinking and drugs as a way for foreign correspondents to cope with the trauma we experience while at war. Someone once described the job to me as “a poor man’s rock star.” We travel the world, appear on TV and roll up to large hotels with crews of people. We must now face the music of habits we created,” Yingst continued.

To create a healthier work environment in journalism, journalists must prioritize a new culture that incorporates practices such as meditation, exercise, and cold-exposure therapy, he recommended, adding that it’s possible to be a resilient, battle-tested reporter who prioritizes mental health and has the skills to communicate emotions.

These practices are not incompatible with a career in journalism, Yingst argued, noting he believes it is essential to promote a culture that prioritizes both physical and mental health. By prioritizing the well-being of reporters, he said, it is possible to create a sustainable and productive environment that benefits everyone involved in the industry.

“We often are there for the worst day of someone’s life. For death and disaster. Hell on earth. Staying clear-minded, present, and calm is critical. We have a job to do,” he wrote.


“From the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq to the coast of Gaza, I have found one constant. The civilians and soldiers we interview don’t agree to talk to us because they want to be part of the story. They speak because there is something cathartic about sharing one’s experience,” he said.

“Let’s take care of our own minds so that we can keep telling the stories that matter,” he concluded.


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