Foreign correspondent shares stories from Africa

John Thorne stands for a photo with Malian soldiers at the Timbuktu Airfield in Mali in January 2013.   - Issaka Nazoum photo
John Thorne stands for a photo with Malian soldiers at the Timbuktu Airfield in Mali in January 2013.
— image credit: Issaka Nazoum photo

John Thorne will share stories from his work as a reporter overseas — including highlights of covering the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Libya and accompanying the French Foreign Legion as it routed Islamist terrorists in northern Mali last January — at a special upcoming talk at the Bainbridge Public Library.

“On Assignment: Life as a Foreign Correspondent” is 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 6 at the library. The program is free.

Thorne, who grew up on Bainbridge Island, has spent the last ten years as a foreign correspondent, primarily in North Africa, for the Associated Press, The National and The Christian Science Monitor.

He will also describe some of his tricks of the trade, such as eluding government “minders,” dealing with overzealous police, overcoming cultural barriers, maintaining objectivity, and gaining the trust of the people he interviews.

In addition, he’ll offer pointers for aspiring globe-trotting journalists.

Thorne graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1997. He caught the foreign travel bug and discovered an aptitude for languages on an exchange visit to France with his Bainbridge High French class.

After graduating from Whitman College, he secured two internships - one at Boston Magazine and the second at The Atlantic Monthly - that cemented his determination to become a journalist. He spent a few years traveling, picking up languages, and freelance writing before earning a master’s degree in Mediterranean studies at Kings College London. He was hired in 2006 by the Associated Press as its Morocco correspondent.

Thorne now lives in Tunisia, where he is the North Africa Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. He speaks Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian, and tries to make it back to Bainbridge at least once a year for Christmas or the Grand Old Fourth.


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