I’m sitting in a Cuban bar in Paris, after three days of terror in France. I’m wearing the same trousers I’ve had on since Wednesday, and my boots are covered in mud from today’s reporting scene in Dammartin-en-Goële.
On Wednesday morning I went for an MRI scan in hospital in London. Three hours later I’d been dispatched to Paris by my editor, as news was unfolding of 12 people shot dead by Islamist terrorists at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. I’d packed an overnight bag…it turned out to be a longer stay than first planned.
The last three days have been stressful, exhausting, tough and extremely emotional. Having not really done much field reporting in my career so far, I’ve had little experience of immersing myself in a story to this extent and being ‘on the scene’ for so long, let alone on a news event of this global magnitude and significance.
When you’re on a roundabout in the middle of nowhere and the news desk is calling you to do live pieces, reports for various different stations and extended news features within the space of 20 minutes, and all you have is an iPhone and a rucksack with limited supplies, you can sometimes wonder whether it’s all worth it. You miss your family, your girlfriend, someone to talk to. Despite being such a fast moving situation and the adrenaline keeping you going, it can be a lonely place.
I cried when I came off air on Thursday having described the tributes left at the Charlie Hebdo office. I was devastated.
I’m due to go home tomorrow afternoon. I’m shattered – physically and emotionally.
Despite all this, it has been an honour to report for LBC during these dark, horrific last few days for Paris and France. I have learnt a lot about myself and what I want to do with the rest of my career.
My thoughts are with the French people tonight as they can finally begin to mourn the victims of terror. I can’t wait to get home and hug my loved ones.