Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for June 7th, 2007

Life of a Foreign Correspondent

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 7th June, 2007

I was at the Royal Over-Seas League in St James’s this evening, to give a talk on ‘The Life of a Foreign Correspondent’. It’s 40 years since I first set foot in Asia, having taken the ferry over from Istanbul to Uskudar (my schoolpal co-hitchhiker promptly panicked, and insisted that we go straight back). And it’s 38 years since I abandoned school and went off to the Viet Nam War, thanks to an act of faith by the then Editor of the Manchester Evening News, Brian Redhead. Since then I’ve had permanently itchy feet, travelling all over the world on assignments or to conferences, for seven years working out of Brussels, then from 1982, based in London. It makes a nice counter-balance to my intensely London-focussed political campaigning activity (well, I am a typical Gemini!).

There have been highs and lows to my journalistic life on the road, not a few of which have been aired on Radio 4/BBC World Service’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’. I enjoy doing those broadcasts even more than the ‘Thought for the Day’ slot that I had for over a decade, Quakerly, on the ‘Today’ programme. In the latter guise, what one said was, of course, subject to a certain degreee of self-censorship, and whenever I do work for the BBC, I still strive to retain that famous principle of ‘balance’. In my politics, of course, I can be as affirmative as I like, when dealing with a subject close to my heart. There I go, being typically Gemini again!


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