<< Chapter One: Cotton Underwear <<

Back in the proto-technology days, when foreign correspondents spent weeks out of touch with their desks, I asked friends what advice editors had offered them as they headed out on their first assignment. Bob Sullivan, as a kid off to an ugly war taking shape in Vietnam for United Press International, went to a promising source. His foreign editor, a gravelly voiced, gray-haired legend named Walter Logan, had been everywhere. “Cotton underwear,” Logan told him. “Nylon clings in the tropics.”

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« Mort's Rules «

One morning before class, I batted out a simple list of things any reporter working beyond borders should keep in mind. Each is so ingrained in my physic hardware that the project took only a few minutes. Over time, I reflected, revised, and bounced ideas off colleagues. The result is not much different from the original.

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Chapter Three: Cultural Bridges

If you are lucky, your byline is Ahmed O’Goldberg Wong-Gonzales. Take it from a guy named Rosenblum. However you sign your copy, someone will make assumptions and look for hidden motives or biases. Understand this, deal with it, then ignore it.

Foreign correspondents have belief systems, political leanings, and complex inner workings shaped by family, friends, and societies in which they were raised. To do the job right, we each have to take stock of these various elements and box them away as best we can.

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