Posted by Thomas Crampton
Civil wars, deadly disease outbreaks, natural disasters and foreign cultures have been standard fare in my career of newspapering. Now, at the suggestion of Joi, I intend to enter a new foreign culture and experiment with a foray into Blogging. This marks the first Blog posting by this journalist.
Who am I?
My career has been pretty hard core international reporting: A foreign correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, reporting from five continents and on many major world events. While based out of Asia (Hong Kong and Bangkok), I covered the Asian financial crisis as it spread out of Thailand and across the region, the rise of China as a regional power and the SARS outbreak as it spread from Southern China around the world as well as Sudan's civil war as seen from the rebel-held south.
My favorite place to report from?
It is impossible to say which country is most memorable, but one of my favorite places in Asia is Burma/Myanmar, a country of wonderful people ruled by one of the world's most harsh dictatorships. As part of the integration between the newsrooms of the IHT and the NYTimes (full owner of the IHT since 2003), I worked in a variety of positions at The New York Times, reporting for the Metro desk on issues in New York, the Washington bureau on the presidential campaign trail with the Bush twins, with the vice president and conventions as well as for the National Desk, covering two of the three Florida hurricanes (I managed to go through the eye of both hurricanes.)
What gets me up in the morning?
I have a deep and enduring commitment to defending freedom of expression and speaking in defense of journalists persecuted for doing their job. In that light, I currently serve on the board of the Overseas Press Club, was elected president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, and also elected president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand.
Where am I now?
Based out of Paris since May, I have spent recent months covering cinema (a daily column on the Cannes film festival), media (French newspapers' attitude towards the European constitution) and various other events (release of French hostage in Iraq, Florence Aubenas.)
What is next?
Looking forward, the next permutation in the intersection of technology, culture and media fascinates me. For example, in recent months I have written about the sociology of mobile phones (how do different cultures use mobile phones?) the way a mobile phone ring tone beat out Coldplay on the UK charts and how ubiquitous Wifi may bring a new generation of wireless devices. My view is that understanding Blogs is crucial to all journalists and I want to learn about them the best way I know how: Reporting on the topic.
Joi encouraged me to also try starting a dialogue on his Blog. What topics?
Since I am based outside the US, I am particularly interested to know what is unique and different about Blogs in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. I am also interested in individuals and companies that might be good to profile.
With a posting wordier and much more self-referential than what my editors would allow, I hereby enter the brave new world of Blogging!