This Tuesday, photographer Joe Raedle and his wife, Nancy San Martin, interactive editor for The Miami Herald, will speak at the School of Communication about their experiences during Raedle’s recent detention in Libya’s war zone.
Raedle, a 1987 University of Miami graduate and Miami-based photographer, was in Libya covering the rebel protests against the Moammar Gadhafi regime for Getty Images.
He was abducted at gunpoint March 19 near Ajdabiya along with Agence France Presse news agency (AFP) reporter Roberto Schmidt, a 1989 UM graduate, and AFP reporter Dave Clark. The three spent four and a half days under inhumane conditions and threats from Gadhafi’s military before being released on March 24.
“It’s great to be back,” Raedle said. “A lot of it was terrifying, but it’s great to be surrounded by friends and family; that’s what’s important.”
According to a letter by San Martin published in The Miami Herald on March 27, the captors made the journalists believe they were going to be killed for being spies, but suddenly released them saying they had made a mistake and were “sorry for the inconvenience.”
“The horror my husband went through was something like what was experienced by the four New York Times correspondents also released last week,” San Martin wrote. “Physical and psychological abuse. I don’t even want to think about what they- those men with guns and a knack for inflicting pain- must do to civilians who are deemed traitors.”
According to Raedle, this experience has not affected the way he will do his job.
“I’ve been in situations before where you’re in bodily danger,” he said. “It doesn’t change the way you’re doing your stories, it’s part of your job.”
A former staff photographer for The Sun Sentinel, Raedle has about 20 years of experience covering war zones, beginning with his coverage of the U.S. invasion of Haiti in the early 90s. He also covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq starting in 2002.
On Tuesday, Raedle will discuss what it means to gather news on the homefront and in the field.
“You need a passion to tell the stories,” he said. “You can’t go in half way. As a journalist, it’s not really a career, it’s more of a life choice. You’re always a journalist. You never turn it off.”
The event will take place in the School of Communication’s Shoma Hall (Room 3053) at 5 p.m. A question and answer session with students will follow, along with a reception on the patio across from Shoma Hall.
“I think they represent the profession the right way and they have done a lot of important work,” visual journalism professor Jim Virga said. “I’m glad they’re there for the students. A lot of people wanted to talk to them and they want to share their stories.”
Alexandra Leon may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get more information
Read The Miami Herald letter by Joe Raedle’s wife, Nancy San Martin, the interactive editor at The Miami Herald at miamiherald.com/2011/03/27/v-fullstory/2135485/from-terror-to-confusion-to-elation.html.