Jonathan Steele on a career that began with ‘an enormous dose of luck’

November 9, 2011

Watch the event here.

By Olivia Heath

Award-winning journalist Jonathan Steele discussed his views on the war in Afghanistan and the changing role of the foreign correspondent on Tuesday night  at the Frontline Club.

In conversation with freelance journalist Tom Finn, The Guardian correspondent recalled his reportage of memorable global events covered for the Guardian.
His first patch of reporting was in America in 1964 during the Mississippi freedom summer at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He said:
“It was a life changing experience for almost everybody including myself. It was radicalising, invigorating and shocking because we saw that this was a different face of America that we had been bought up with.”

Steele talked to the audience about his first break in journalism after being accepted on a traineeship scheme at The Guardian: “Persistence, ambition and a little bit of luck –  in my case it was an enormous dose of luck, about 95 per cent.”

His 40-year career has taken him to Eastern Europe, Washington and Afghanistan. His new book, Ghosts of Afghanistan: Hard Truths and Foreign Myths, is a collection of 30 years worth of visits to Afghanistan to which he described the war as “unending.”