A Memorial to a Fallen Madman…

As a memorial to Chris Hondros, the Columbia Journalism Review reran an interview with him in 2006. Chris was one of the best, not only as a photographer but also as the sort of guerrilla journalist that modern times demand. Here he talks about how the world got to see photos he took when a U.S. soldiers at a roadblock opened fire by mistake on a family car full of kids.

From CJR’s Covering Iraq Oral History

By The Editors
Originally Published on CJR.org on April 21, 2011
Published on BunchofMadmen.com on April 24, 2011

As the world knows by now, the photographers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed on April 20 in Misurata, Libya. Hetherington was the better known of the two for his documentary, Restrepo. But we have a special feeling for Hondros, whom we got to meet when he took part in a CJR panel discussion. In late 2006, for our forty-fifth anniversary issue, the magazine ran an extended oral history, which later became a book, Reporting Iraq, an oral history of the war by the journalists who covered it. It included photos, and every time we laid our potential choices out we were drawn to Hondros’s work.



"Little Bunch of Madmen is accessible, instructive, and sorely needed. It sweeps around the globe collecting the best practices and covering the speed bumps and pitfalls in international reporting. Rosenblum strings the stories together on the high wire of sound and ethical journalism, reminding us what reporting in the public interest should, and used to, be."

~ Joan Konner, dean emerita, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

"A rare blend of great storytelling and pure wisdom, Little Bunch of Madmen is the best thing yet written about the state of modern journalism by one of its few true living masters, and every reporter working today should go out and buy it and read it."

~ Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer, The New Yorker

"Witty, wise, and well-written, definitely a winning combination. I plan to use "Madmen" in teaching the graduate global journalism seminar at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism next quarter."

~ Loren Ghiglione, professor and former dean, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

Mort Rosenblum’s passion for reporting is infectious.

For 40 years he has covered war and peace on seven continents: civil strife, velvet revolution, climate chaos, and the rest. As Associated Press special correspondent, he’s been shot at, locked up, lied to and shaken down. He ran AP bureaus in the Congo, West Africa, Southeast Asia, Argentina, and France.

As editor of the International Herald Tribune in Paris, Rosenblum dispatched correspondents and decided what made news. Now, in vivid detail, he explains what he learned the hard way in this gem of a guide to global reporting

A practical manual based on experience

“This is the manual I wish I’d had back in the 1960s when I was dropped into the Congolese mayhem, clueless, sleepless, and scared witless,” Rosenblum writes. “It’s also the primer I wish people back home could have had at hand to understand what they were reading and watching.”

Who are the Madmen?

They are the hardcore that iconic reporter H.R. Knickerbocker had in mind when he wrote “Whenever you see hundreds of thousands of sane people trying to get out of a place, and a little bunch of madmen struggling to get in, you know the latter are newspapermen.”

Stories from the field become principles to follow

Rosenblum draws on his own experiences and interviews with legendary journalists he has admired to create this unique field manual for global reporting. Seasoned hands like Christiane Amanpour, Jon Lee Anderson, Edward Cody, Jerome Delay, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Gary Knight, Vaiju Naravane, Remy Ourdan, Alison Smale share insights on how to find the story and overcome adversity (including editors) to bring it home safely. They talk about when to team up and when to venture off after a scoop that matters.

Tips anyone can use

Reporters will prize the hard-won, practical advice in Little Bunch of Madmen, such details as how to pack, interview, and make connections. But beyond these basics, it helps all readers to cross cultural bridges and find the vital human context that underpins good reporting.

Young reporters, take note: If you’re willing to work, Rosenblum sees unlimited possibilities for you. “What other pursuit takes you to places you never imagined, shows you life at its limits, and lets you travel among exotic cultures without having to kill anyone?”




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Mort’s Notebook ««

In Fast-Forward Middle East, Think Backgammon Not Dominoes
By Mort Rosenblum

Egypt toppled after Tunisia, and now others totter. Distant analysts seize on the obvious: dominoes. But the Middle East plays backgammon, far more intricate and old as the Sphinx.


Madmen at Work ««

Dying to Tell the Story
By Umar Cheema

Originally published on Nytimes.com on June 12, 2011

Published on BunchofMadmen.com on June 20, 2011

Islamabad, Pakistan – WE have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn’t want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan’s navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base. His death has left Pakistani journalists shaken and filled with despair.