Two-time Emmy award-winning producer Rose Arce visited City College recently to discuss her experiences in journalism and her latest documentary, “The War Comes Home.” This film, which appeared on CNN in August, documents the lives of war veterans suffering from post traumatic stress as they attempt to reintegrate into society while struggling with the effects of their war experiences.
Throughout filming, host Soledad O’Brien follows two men, Delon Beckett and Garrett Combs, on a journey through Save a Warrior–a five-day program with a curriculum designed to heal trauma. In the U.S., a veteran commits suicide every hour but with immediate intervention that gets to the root of the pain, many veterans can be saved.
Arce says she understands the unimaginable effects war can leave on someone. “I was in Afghanistan for Operation Anaconda, and so I could tell you, it was scary!” Arce exclaims as she goes on to describe the nerve-racking sound of constant bombing, “It didn’t stop. You’re kind of held up in a place with this idea that the far off bombs in the night are not going to hit you and then a part of you is like, they kind of could.”
A former CNN producer and now executive producer at O’Brien’s company, Starfish Media Group, Arce has also written a number of books and shared the Pulitzer Prize as a reporter at Newsday in the 1990s. Arce has sustained an accomplished career since she became enthralled by the idea of journalism in high school.
However, Arce confesses that journalism was not her dream job. She had never thought of the profession until a high school teacher took an interest in her. “She looked for the kid in the class that had potential but wasn’t using it,” she recalls, “which is what she did for me.”
After completing an assignment for the same teacher, Arce decided she wanted to be a community reporter. She later went on to cover breaking news including high-profile stories such as the Tawana Brawley rape allegation in 1987 and an exposé on a group of doctors performing unnecessary abortion procedures on women who were not pregnant.
Arce left the media and communications students with a last word about the importance of hard work. “Become valuable to people,” she advises. “People will reward hard work in almost any profession.”