Health

9 Black Journalists on What It’s Been Like to Cover—and Cope With—the News

SELF: You started off by saying that it’s been a fire hose of emotions. I imagine that those emotions are both when you’re on the scene but also when you get home. How are you dealing with the fire hose of emotions?

BW: Well, I have to keep it out of my coverage. Other people can be emotional, and I can share how they’re feeling, but my thoughts don’t matter, not really, not ever. It’s challenging to tamp that down, but what helps me in the world of self-care, the after-work thing, is that I’m blessed with a really cool husband.

The last three or four months have shown me what he’s made of. Part of his DNA, his mission in life, is keeping me happy. For real, for real, he works hard at that. I have mad respect because I can be snippy and snarky and difficult because I’m bringing home all these feelings I can’t put into my reporting, and he’s my sounding board, my receptacle for all the angst and the pain and the tears and the anger and the bewilderment. He’s a wise dude. I think I chose well, so I thank my lucky stars.

Also, I’m cooking—haven’t done a lot of that in a long time, but I’m motivated. And I still got it, he still eats it, he doesn’t complain, so I guess I wasn’t as rusty as I thought.

One thing that I started doing at the beginning of the pandemic, just because I read somewhere that it might be helpful, is journaling again. I haven’t done that since high school, but it feels good.

3. “I’ve had some very major panic attacks in the past couple of weeks.”

Donovan X. Ramsey is a journalist and author based in Atlanta. His forthcoming book, “When Crack was King” —a history of America’s crack epidemic—will be published next year.

DXR: I’m feeling both overwhelmed and encouraged. I say ‘overwhelmed’ because there’s so much happening, and for me being a writer who writes primarily around racial justice and equity, this is a particularly busy time. But I’m encouraged because there is attention being directed towards the issues that I work around and the issues that impact and affect my life.

SELF: Talk to me about how you’re taking care of yourself.

DXR: How am I taking care of myself? [Laughs] I live in Atlanta and a part of me taking care of myself was leaving New York after eight years in the city. New York got to be anxiety-ridden. The pace and the activity of the city were a lot. I made the decision almost two years ago now to move back here, a place that is home for me—it’s where my mother is, it’s where I went to college—to slow down the pace of my life, and to be able to breathe a little bit. I’m very happy that I made the decision.

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