‘Rebuilt’ and recovered, Fox News’s Hall plans return to TV
In the hours and days that followed a missile strike that killed his colleagues, it was uncertain if Benjamin Hall would survive the injuries he sustained during the attack while covering Russia’s war in Ukraine for Fox News.
Today, one of the network’s leading foreign correspondents is eyeing a remarkable return to the field after a lengthy rehabilitation process — one that has highlighted the dangers journalists covering the ongoing conflict constantly face while reporting from a war zone.
“In many senses I was broken, mentally and physically,” Hall said of the last 12 months during a recent conversation with The Hill. “You lose so many things, and what happened is I was slowly rebuilt.“
“It was a slow process — sometimes a very difficult process,” Hall added.
But Hall feels the most grueling part of his recovery is behind him and is itching to get back onto television screens across the country as soon as he can. He said he plans in the coming weeks to begin conversations with Fox’s leadership about what a return to work might look like.
Hall, a Duke University graduate, joined Fox News in 2015, first serving in the network’s London bureau covering wars in Syria and Afghanistan, and then as Fox’s U.S. State Department correspondent. In 2022, he was deployed to Europe to cover Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hall was severely injured last spring as part of an attack that killed Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and local Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova. Ukrainian government officials have blamed Russian forces for the attack, which happened just outside the capital city of Kyiv.
The attack was one of more than five dozen that resulted in death or injury to journalists and other media workers around the world last year, according to a recent study from the Committee To Protect Journalists — a 50 percent increase from the year prior and the highest number since 2018.
“You immerse yourself in some of the most horrible places and see some awful things, and you try and cut away some of your personal feelings and that can be very hard,” Hall said of the toll of reporting from a war zone. “But the way I see it, that isn’t the news, nor should it be the news.”
The attack that injured Hall and killed his colleagues made international headlines, nevertheless, and sparked an outpouring of support from across the competitive businesses of media, politics and diplomacy.
“When something this serious happens, all of those disagreements over politics or where you stand or the kind of network or place you work for, those disappear,” Hall said. “Underneath all of the politics we’re all a family who do this job, and we all care about each other and want to help one another.”
Hall said many of his colleagues who cover war and foreign conflicts are “like-minded” individuals who “share passions” about meeting people affected by the decisions of world leaders.
“But you have to turn off the emotional tap, even though it can be equally difficult and equally rewarding,” he said. “Because it’s an important job.”
Hall has repeatedly credited his life to the people who helped him escape war-torn Europe while badly injured. Jennifer Griffin, a fellow veteran foreign affairs and defense reporter at Fox News, assembled a team that included members of the group Save Our Allies, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian and Polish government officials to get Hall out of Ukraine safely.
“I have never seen somebody so positive and someone with such incredible spirit and resilience,” Griffin, who has spent years covering the Pentagon with wounded veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington, D.C.
“He has not wavered for one day in the past year in terms of feeling sorry for himself or having any sort of days of depression. And that is truly extraordinary for anyone who has gone through the sort of traumatic events that he went through,” Griffin said.
Hall’s reporting and steadfast determination to recover as quickly as he has earned him the respect and praise of Fox’s top leaders.
Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott called Hall’s recovery “nothing short of awe inspiring” after the reporter, who is based in London, visited the network’s New York headquarters on the anniversary of the attack.
Through his recovery process, Hall has been reflecting on his colleagues lost in the attack and contemplating what a return to his work might look like.
It was through this contemplation he decided to start recording his memories and organizing his thoughts for a memoir.
“Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make It Home” debuted earlier this month and includes Hall’s most intimate thoughts about the days immediately following the attack.
“The fact is, that recovery can be quite boring sometimes,” Hall said. “For the first couple months I was just sort of lying in bed and wasn’t able to move much of my body. But I could think and I could write and take voice notes. And that’s what I was doing, and it gave me a lot of time to be reflective.”
Most importantly, Hall said, the process of writing the book was cathartic.
“I look back at some of the notes I took early on, and they really are incredibly open and honest,” he said. “I really think that was a big part of getting me back and getting better so quickly.”
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