“The way to tell a story is all about the people,” NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief and correspondent Martin Fletcher told an audience of about 400 last night in suburban Chicago, describing how he approaches journalism. “It’s very important to me to be as close-up as possible.”
TVNewser was there as Fletcher spoke in Northbrook, part of a 23-city book tour this month to mark the paperback release of his 2008 memoir, Breaking News. He told the crowd of his nearly 40 years in journalism — 32 with NBC — and his experiences in some of the world’s most dangerous hot spots.
Take an incident almost 30 years ago, on November 15, 1979. In Tehran reporting on the 53 American hostages at the U.S. embassy, he too was taken by Iranian militants. Held for nine hours, Fletcher was transported to the same embassy, making him the first television correspondent inside the occupied building, though not by his choosing.
The episode “wasn’t scary at all,” he tells TVNewser. “I don’t take risks, and I don’t go into dangerous situations,” he explains. “However, my definitions of risk and danger may well be different from most people!”
More from Fletcher about foreign news coverage, and his next book — plus additional photos, after the jump…
Despite the risks, Fletcher still enjoys his globetrotting career after four decades in the field. “I’ve been re-energized,” he says, “because of the kind of stories I’m doing.” Stories that focus on the human experience. “It’s about the people…how can that become boring? It can’t, to me.”
He disagrees with criticism that foreign news coverage is in decline. Instead, “we do different kinds of stories” — including “more focus on the planet, on climate change.” There’s also expanded foreign affairs coverage online, he says, such as the reporting he and his colleagues do for msnbc.com’s World Blog.
And so Fletcher continues to circle the globe, having filed reports this fall from a tiny village in northern Kenya and the slums of Casablanca.
He also just completed a manuscript for his next book, likely out next fall. It gives “a different look at Israel”, he says, with an emphasis on places and people.
“It’s been a blast,” he tells TVNewser about his work. “It really has. It’s been a great career.”
NBC’s Martin Fletcher speaks with viewers in Northbrook, IL Thursday.
Fletcher signs copies of his 2008 memoir, now out in paperback.
(photos by Alissa Krinsky)