In Depth

Peabody Award Winners: CBS News, ‘CBS News Sunday Morning: The Way Home’

Kimberly Dozier was about to conduct an interview when she learned she had won a Peabody Award for “The Way Home,” an 11-minute piece that aired on “CBS News Sunday Morning.”

She quickly dashed off an e-mail to her producer, Reid Orvedahl, who at first did not believe it.
“The Way Home” chronicles the stories of two soldiers, Juanita Wilson and Dawn Halfaker, who were seriously wounded in Iraq and the challenges they have faced during their rehabilitation and re-entry into the changed reality of their daily lives. Both women lost limbs as a result of bombings, and their recovery continues.

Their experiences somewhat mirror those of Ms. Dozier herself, who has just written a book called “Breathing the Fire.” The CBS News correspondent was severely injured in a car bombing in Baghdad on Memorial Day 2006. The horrific explosion took the lives of a U.S. Army captain and an Iraqi interpreter, along with two of her colleagues and friends, Paul Douglas and James Brolan, who were doing camera and sound. The CBS News crew had been embedded with an army detail and was covering the story of Iraqi security forces being trained by American personnel. The blast left Ms. Dozier fighting for her life in a pool of blood on the street.

The horrific experience also gave her a special sensitivity in covering stories about wounded veterans of war and their long battle to heal. “These are amazing women who wear their hearts on their sleeve,” said Ms. Dozier. “Each opened up. Juanita, being an army sergeant, I thought would be more reserved, but she shared her whole life story. Dawn, a West Point graduate and now a successful businesswoman, was more formal. But when both described the moment of the blast, they had that faraway look—like they were there in the moment. You remember the impact, the first time you woke up at the scene and then woke up later. All three of us had the same experiences.”

Ms. Dozier said some of the most insightful parts of her discussions with the soldiers came when they were shooting cutaways and she asked questions she didn’t think of during the formal part of the interview. For instance, she asked Dawn whether she would consider having children. “I wonder if anyone would want me as a mother without an arm,” the woman told her. “I was just stunned she would think that,” Ms. Dozier said. “I thought, you can’t think that about yourself. You can’t think a kid would care. The hard part of asking questions is they would open up and start crying. I can’t keep driving into their hearts with the next question,” Ms. Dozier said. “You sure didn’t want to embarrass someone by pushing for more. Because of that, they said what they wanted, and it was a conversation, with parts I could relate to.”

Ms. Dozier has spent most of her career as a foreign correspondent living abroad, but she is now assigned to CBS’ Washington bureau, where she covers the Pentagon, the White House, general assignment stories and foreign policy. She returned to work nine months after the explosion.