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Why Journalism is Better than a Real Job: Excerpts from Sympathy for the Devil

10 Feb

Why Journalism is Better than a Real Job: Excerpts from Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy for the Devil: A Journalist’s Memoir From Inside Pol Pot’s Cambodia

(Copyright Nate Thayer. No publication or distribution in whole or part without express prior written permission from the author)

Please consider donating to support the publication of Sympathy for the Devil. Details on how to show support are on this blog

By Nate Thayer

By 1994, after more than a decade focused on Cambodia and its war, I only had one more objective: To interview Pol Pot. And then, I told myself, I would leave that wicked country forever.

And the opportunity was tantalizingly possible.

Brewing dissatisfaction within the Khmer Rouge ranks were creating cracks in their armor, opening up potential new means for me to access the core of their inner circle leadership holed up deep in the jungles. Where there was turmoil, there was an increased possibility that I could wangle my way into the heart of the Khmer Rouge central command.

I had found that the Khmer Rouge opened up to me when they had difficulties which often left them with issues they wanted to clarify or explain to outsiders. Turmoil and weakness increased the likelihood that they would want to play that card. And I was forever scheming to ensure that the vehicle they used to do so would be me.

I was always encouraging, maneuvering for, and poised to take advantage of increased and higher level contacts within their ranks. I approached it as an endless chess game, requiring long-term strategy and patience and an intimate knowledge of one’s opponent. By the mid 1990’s, obstacles were being removed and I was advancing. I knew from viewing their chessboard that I was closing in, however slowly, on their king—Pol Pot. Continue reading

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My Sordid Love Affair with Journalism

7 Feb

My Sordid Love Affair with Journalism

Excerpts from Sympathy for the Devil: A Foreign Correspondent Inside Pol Pot’s Cambodia

Copyright Nate Thayer. No republication in whole or part without prior written permission of the author

By Nate Thayer

Journalism and I have a love affair that will never be extinguished.

From the beginning, I was the perfect specimen to be a journalist. It has consumed me, for every minute of every day.

I have always been eager to go anywhere where something of import or fascination is occurring and fraternize with the interesting people who were the protagonists, at any time.

At the beginning, I was willing to die. I had little concern for making money.

The absence of love of money and fear of death are often the crucial makings of a good foreign correspondent.

A dirty little secret is most successful foreign correspondents have either no or dysfunctional families, no other obligations, and few other talents outside of journalism. And few who rely on them, save for their editors. They travel constantly and without advance warning. Properly organized marriages and family are disproportionately rare.

We are not, as a control group, upstanding members of the healthier end of properly organized societies.

Like Communism and God, one has to make a choice between the two. Continue reading

Nate Thayer: periodismo, crowdfunding y autopromo

27 Jan

How to Be Buddy-Buddy With a Guerilla General

27 Jan

How to Be Buddy-Buddy With an Guerilla General

It is always a pleasure when someone has positive things to say about ones work. So thanks to scholars-stage.blogspot.com for their generous comments:

How to Be Buddy-Buddy With an Guerilla General

Posted by T. Greer in 

  Far Eastern Economic Review (2 August 1997)
with Thayer’s investigative work featured as its cover story.Image Credit: Wikimedia

If you read one thing this weekend, this should be it.

Nate Thayer was the Far Eastern and Economic Review‘s man on the ground in Cambodia for most of the 1990s. One of his editors at the Review described his achievements in the following terms:

“Nate broke the story in 1997 that Cambodia’s ex-dictator, Pol Pot, was still alive and had been purged from the Khmer Rouge. He followed up a few months later with the first interview with Pol Pot in 18 years, shedding light on how utopian leftism translated to genocide back in Cambodia…. In an era of instant communication, when scoops are matched in hours and sometimes minutes, the Pol Pot stories went unmatched for months. That’s because Nate had spent years developing contacts within the Khmer Rouge, Thai intelligence, and elsewhere to gain this access” [1]

Mr. Thayer is currently writing a book that tells how he was able to build a network of contacts in an insurgent controlled jungle and gain the trust of the Khmer Rouge’s top leaders. This week he published a meaty excerpt from his truly remarkable story: Continue reading

Sympathy for the Devil: A Journalists Memoir from Inside Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge

13 Jan

UPDATE: Kickstarter campaign for publication of “Sympathy for the Devil”.

Please excuse, in advance, the insufferable self-promotion seeking funding. Believe me, it mortifies me more than it will annoy you.

Two weeks ago, I posted this video clip as a preview to the impending launch of my Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of my book “Sympathy for the Devil: A Journalists Memoir from Inside Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.”

http://https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=649003698476193&l=3047620387800001174

That campaign will be officially launched soon. It was delayed after I sought and was denied permission to use the soundtrack of the Rolling Stones song of the same title–Sympathy for the Devil–as a soundtrack for the campaign.

All fair enough, save it requires the remixing and editing of the video. That, and a few other minor, routine bureaucratic glitches, has meant the launching of the project may take as much as two more weeks to commence, but will be launched this January.

In the meantime, I am proceeding ahead with the production process. All support, no matter how small or large, is welcomed with gratitude.

For those inclined or willing to support the project prior to the official launch, it is both needed and appreciated. Please go to my blog site, natethayer.wordpress.com. In the upper right hand corner is a Paypal button that will easily walk you through the simple steps to donate.

The new-fangled world of journalism requires a significant effort at self funding, as virtually all institutional budgets supporting in-depth investigative journalism has been eliminated in recent years. This genre of journalism is as time consuming and expensive as it is vital. It is an unpleasant process for most of us, but less unpleasant than ceasing pursuing this essential genre of quality, in depth journalism.

Along with the approximately 400 page hardcover book and an E book,  this project will make available for the historical record hundreds of hours of related, un-redacted archive videos, interviews, and transcripts I have compiled over decades of chronicling Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge and contemporary Cambodian Politics. It will include hours of raw video and audio interviews of Pol Pot and the entire senior Khmer Rouge leadership who remained alive after they did what they did.

The project needs to secure the expertise of professionals, who, rightfully, need to be paid. They include manuscript editors, graphic artists, and various people with related technical skills for ensuring excellence in quality and presentation of the final product.

In order to succeed, the Kickstarter campaign requires that the full funding target goal must be raised within a set period of days (my campaign will probably be 30 days) or the project will not be supported at all.

The costs for a high quality production of this project are substantial. The details of what it will cost, and the specific funding targeting each aspect of the larger project, to bring these projects to fruition will be laid out in the Kickstarter campaign.

Any thoughts, criticisms, or comments are welcome here, or by email at thayernate0007@gmail.com, or through my blog site at natethayer.wordpress.com.

Again, for those inclined to support the project before the official launch, and my ability to devote the time and resources to ensure it reaches fruition , please go to my blog site natethayer.wordpress.com, where there is a Paypal buttons to push to donate. Grateful thanks in advance and stay tuned…

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