While recently mentoring for an NPR bootcamp at the University Nevada, Reno, I was asked to speak about international journalism.
I decided to speak to students about my own journey which I'll adapt here. I grew up in Washington, D.C., in a globetrotter, internationalist environment. My schoolmates at the French International School were the sons and daughters of deposed dictators and democrats, francophone schoolteachers (like my Mom), embassy gardeners, drivers and consuls, restaurant waiters, IMF and World Bank privileged, and "American Dreamers", all from different corners of the world.
I was lucky to also have as neighbors, in succession, Gerard Tschopp (referenced here) (and pictured above) of international Swiss radio, and Jan Krauze, at the time the correspondent for the French daily Le Monde. When I was 11, Tschopp interviewed me about donating to Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential campaign and showed me how he edited the report in his basement. I sometimes saw Krauze playing tennis on weekday afternoons, and often saw him lounging in his backyard reading political books in the sun, which also impressed me.
A Taste of the Tropics
When I was 17, my high school graduation present was a trip to Bangkok, where my older brother was working as an economics professor. The trip fueled inspiration for travel writing (link to one story here with screengrab below) but more importantly I also discovered the Bangkok Post, one of many superb English-language newspapers around the world. Prior to this formative tropical trip, I did not know these types of papers existed, but I immediately decided I wanted to one day write for one of these, sweating out a rum hangover over a typewriter. After reading a reference to a fourth-rate journalist in the novel The Shipping News, I set my sights on becoming, as this blog is titled, "Third Rate in The Tropics".Part II, coming up, my educational and early professional journey through Canada, France, Turkey and Indonesia.
If you enjoyed this posting, other chapters of this series on my journey in and out of international reporting are the following:
Chapter 1 -- Wanting to Become an International Journalist
Chapter 2 -- Studies, Soccer and Internships
Chapter 3 -- Getting a First Job (with RFI in Paris)
Chapter 4 -- Getting to Indonesia
Chapter 5 -- Surviving a Revolution
Chapter 6 -- Fixers and Fixing
Chapter 7 -- Getting the Dream Job
Chapter 8 -- African Stories