In War Reporting Today ‘Journalists Have Become Targets’

By Alissa Krinsky Comment

In his new novel, Martin Fletcher addresses what he calls the “universal question: How do you get on with the rest of your life in the face of horrific tragedy?”

It’s a topic the former NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief explored frequently during his nearly-four decade career with the network, reporting from the globe’s most dangerous hot spots, often meeting interviewees “on the worst day of their lives.”

Fletcher’s fourth book, and second novel, Jacob’s Oath, is due out this fall.  He says readers will “come away full of hope, and belief in the future.” It’s what has stayed with him after a lifetime of covering wars, famine, and other hardships.

Fletcher left full-time reporting nearly four years ago, staying with NBC on a freelance basis. These days he’s less focused on covering danger zones, feeling like he’s used up too many of his nine lives.  “For how long can you be lucky?”

The Richard Engels of the world, he says, are facing a more complicated Middle East than ever before. “So many things going on at the same time…it looks like we’re at the beginning of a very long road,” Fletcher says during a phone interview with TVNewser from Israel.

“It’s much more dangerous today than it used to be. And the reason is that journalists have become targets.”

Most recently, Fletcher reported from London on the birth of Prince George. A “popular and interesting” topic, he calls it, but an assignment that found him battling an “adrenalin push… that internal need to do [more] exciting stuff. I’m fighting it, because I don’t want to get hurt. It’s not something I ever thought about before.”

And there’s no danger in writing. As with his first work of fiction – 2011’s The List – Jacob’s Oath, reveals “how unbreakable the human spirit is.”

The book tells the story of Jacob and Sarah, two Holocaust survivors who meet after World War II. Jacob vows revenge against the concentration camp guard who killed his brother, but he must choose between focusing his energy on hatred, or on the love he has found with Sarah.

Fletcher divides his time between London, New York, and his home base of Israel.  In addition to reporting and writing, he also does public speaking. “I love it,” Fletcher reflects.

“I’m working as hard as before, but I’m in charge of my own time, and I’m in charge of what I do. It’s fantastic.”