Chicago reporter's three grim years of covering overnight crime

What happens to a journalist assigned to cover Chicago's overnight violent crime? Chicago Tribune reporter Peter Nickeas describes in harrowing detail how three years of covering endless violence and misery changed him:

I'd wanted a job at the paper, and this was the one they had. I was 25 years old. It's only in the last couple of years that I've been able to gain any perspective on what those three years have meant for me. I still feel wrecked sometimes. I still feel drained from the work of chasing incessant violence. Drained from going from shooting to shooting to shooting. Drained from enduring the mind-numbing silence of a slow night only to be jolted awake, adrenaline on, into full chase mode. Drained from trying to convince my wife that the job hasn't changed me. Or that the change hasn't been so bad.

• Three years of Nights (Chicago Magazine)

Image: Tony Webster