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One year later, reporters are still processing what happened on Jan. 6

By Ramishah Maruf, CNN Business

One of the defining stories of this year was the Jan. 6 insurrection, and its significance is only growing from here, CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter said on “Reliable Sources” Sunday.

Approaching the one year anniversary, journalists are continuing to report on the attack and its aftermath, and many are still reeling from their own experiences covering the insurrection on the ground.

“We’re all kind of feeling the same thing right now, this sort of disbelief that already a year has gone by and here we are,” Grace Segers, a staff writer at the New Republic, said.

Hunter Walker, author of the newsletter “The Uprising” and a contributor to Rolling Stone, said that many Americans are still not truly aware of the extent of what happened that day, and not just due to active attempts to deny the seriousness of the event. Many journalists were working from home due to Covid, and jammed cell signals delayed the release of videos from the Capitol.

“There’s a bit of an informal network of reporters who’ve been through it that day, and are still coping with that, who are leaning on each other and talking to each other,” Walker said.

Some journalists have been candid about post traumatic stress disorder following the insurrection. Walker said one hallmark of PTSD is to have eerily clear flashbacks — something he has experienced when reflecting on Jan. 6.

“It was immediately apparent to me (that day) that a shooting could break out from either side at any moment, just because people had breached such a secure building,” Walker said.

Segers was working inside the Capitol and didn’t have access to her electronics in the reporters’ gallery. And those feelings are going to stay with her “no matter how long it is.”

“I noticed the seat that I had been sitting in and just for a flash of a moment I remember being there on January 6, when we were locked in before we were evacuated,” Segers said.

For the journalists on the ground, it was clear that what was happening was a violent attempt to overturn a free and fair election. And the denialism that emerged afterward made them “stick to the story” even more.

“This was our city. This was our home that was under attack,” Walker said.

David Frum, a writer for The Atlantic, said that in the aftermath of the insurrection, the media has to accept that the false narratives that were promoted during and after Donald Trump’s presidency are the new reality for many.

“Do you accept this?” Frum asked of the misinformation still being spread around Jan. 6 and the 2020 election. “And if you don’t accept it, what will you do to keep the country true to its democratic and liberal traditions?”

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