Thursday, February 7, 2008

Former journalist, hostage Terry Anderson speaks

ATHENS - Aspiring foreign correspondents enrolled at Ohio University got to hear what life is like in the trenches from a veteran former war correspondent.

Former Associated Press Reporter Terry Anderson spoke about his career, and the demands and dangers of being a foreign correspondent.

Anderson, who is best known for his seven-year ordeal as a hostage, told students what it was like wondering whether he would be alive. Anderson was the AP's Chief Middle East Correspondent when he was kidnapped by terrorists in 1985. He was released 2,456 days later.

Anderson said reporting abroad has become much more dangerous than it was 10 or 20 years ago. He said he dismissed danger signs, clues that he should have heeded in days and weeks prior to his abduction.

Anderson was snatched by terrorists after coming back from a game of tennis. Asked if he had regrets and what he would do differently, Anderson said: "I don't have regrets, but I do wish I had never gone to play tennis."

When Anderson came back to the U.S., he enjoyed a hero's welcome. "A hero for what?" He asked. "There were parades. People gave me awards and plaques."

Anderson said being a foreign correspondent is a life of sacrifice, a vocation that takes a toll on personal relationships. You must have a passion to succeed, he told students.

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