This is a collection of experiences and reflections from journalists, old hands and new ones, who see beyond the story at hand. For more practical advice, and rip-roaring tales of life on the road, check out the new book Little Bunch of Madmen: Elements of Global Reporting. If you’d like to contribute, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For periodic musings, grumbling and occasional fresh ideas on global reporting, check out Mort's Notebook. Follow us with the Madmen at Work RSS Feed .

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Fixers, Inc.

An Afghan entrepreneur and his firm smooth the way for a reporter making her war zone debut. He hopes someday he’ll be escorting sightseers rather than journalists through his troubled country.

By Jessica Wanke
Originally published in American Journal Review in the February/March 2009 Issue
Published on on December 27, 2010

I was sitting at my computer for the fifth consecutive hour, a stack of printed-out country guides, close to a foot high, by my side. I was about to head around the world, on my first trip to Afghanistan, on an independent reporting trip funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and I was compiling enough information to give myself a crash course in Afghan history on the plane rides over. This combination of excitement and anxiety is familiar to a lot of journalists before they take off overseas: You know your assignment, you know the big picture story, but you have little to no clue when it comes to the terrain, the language and the sources on the ground.


When the news breaks the journalist: PTSD

By Frederik Joelving for Reuters
Originally Published on Vancouver Sun on December 17, 2010
Published on on December 23, 2010

Chris Cramer, 62, was a fledgling war correspondent when one spring day 30 years ago he got much closer to the battle than he'd ever intended.

Just back from Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, his boss at the BBC had asked him to fly to Tehran, where militants were holding dozens of Americans hostage at the U.S. embassy.


An Exchange for Ethics

Veteran Vietnam correspondents have an exchange whether to compromise ethics for access.


Trusted news gatekeepers will endure

By Cameron Forbes
Originally Published on Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Published on on Thursday, December 16, 2010

WikiLeaks shows the value of good, old-fashioned journalism.

MOST Fridays I attend a lunch that over the years has become known as the Gentlemen's Discussion Group. Women are welcome to join us. Some do, but they rarely return. This is understandable: some of us are former foreign correspondents and there is much telling - and retelling and retelling – of tall tales but true about old wars and dead comrades. There will be mention of Peter Smark and Robert Haupt, legendary masters of the long lunch and expenses claims that were works of art, if not fiction. There will be a chorus of "we had the best of it".


Life as a foreign correspondent
After seven year
s on the Guardian's news desk, what are the realities of reporting in the field?
By Harriet Sherwood

Originally Published on The Guardian, Monday 27 September 2010
Published on on Monday, October 4, 2010

Three months after arriving in Jerusalem to be the Guardian's correspondent here, I was finally issued with a visa, work permit and permanent press accreditation. It feels like a major achievement.


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