Reporter talks about real-life story that became Hollywood film

Indy Style

She’s the real-life reporter whose story of about covering the war beat in the Middle East was turned into the hit film starring Tina Fey – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Kim Barker was the South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune from 2004 to 2009, based in New Delhi and Islamabad. Her book about those years, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was published by Doubleday in 2011 and served as the basis for the film, which was hailed as “boldly entertaining” (Time).

A satirical take on combat journalists and an illuminating story of self-discovery, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot follows Kim (Tina Fey) as she decides to shake things up by taking a dangerous assignment in Afghanistan. There, in the midst of chaos, Kim discovers her true strength as she risks it all to find the next big story. The film also stars Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton and Alfred Molina.

Barker grew up in Montana and Wyoming and has covered natural disasters such as the tsunami in Asia and the earthquake in Kashmir, as well as tracked manmade disasters — the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the corruption in Afghanistan, and the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She now lives in Brooklyn and works as a New York Times metro reporter specializing in investigative reporting and narrative writing.

ABOUT KIM BARKER

Kim Barker (author of the book) was the South Asia bureau chief for The Chicago Tribune from 2004 to 2009, based in New Delhi and Islamabad. Her book about those years, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a dark comedic take on her time in South Asia, was published by Doubleday in 2011. The movie version, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” stars Tina Fey, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Margot Robbie and Billy Bob Thornton. Barker has covered natural disasters such as the tsunami in Asia and the earthquake in Kashmir, as well as tracked manmade disasters — the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the corruption in Afghanistan, and the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Before going overseas, Barker worked at The Seattle Times and the Spokane Spokesman-Review. After coming back in 2009, she was the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she freelanced for Foreign Affairs, Reader’s Digest and The Atlantic. In 2010, she joined ProPublica, where she wrote about campaign finance and the fallout of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Barker, who grew up in Montana and Wyoming, now lives in Brooklyn and works as a New York Times metro reporter specializing in investigative reporting and narrative writing.

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