Megan Stack started life as a war correspondent almost accidentally. She was 25 years old, a National Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and holidaying in Paris when the 2001 September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center occurred. Her vacation was cut short, she flew in to Afghanistan, and from there Stack officially became a war correspondent.
Since then, Stack has been a foreign correspondent in over 22 countries and has covered war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Lebanon. It's an experience she recounts in her book, Every Man In This Village Is A Liar: An Education In War.
In this talk at the Byron Bay Writers Festival, Megan Stack discusses her career as a war correspondent. She gives insights into the wars she has covered, many of which still rage on today explaining why in war "You can survive and not survive, both at the same time."
She is joined by journalist Mungo MacCallum who replaces the intended compare for the event Kerry O'Brien (whose plane was delayed). O'Brien rushes in halfway through the talk, takes up his post and continues the conversation with Stack.
Mungo MacCallum is a political journalist, broadcaster and commentator.
Since the 1970s and 1980s, he has covered Australian federal politics from the Canberra Press Gallery for The Australian, The National Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, Nation Review and radio station 2JJ/Triple J.
Currently he writes a column for The Byron Shire Echo, The Northern Star, and frequently writes for the magazine The Monthly and www.crikey.com.au. He also contributes political commentary to Australia's national Community Radio Network.
As an author, he has written several books, including Run, Johnny, Run, written after the Australian federal election in 2004. His autobiographical narrative of the Australian political scene, Mungo: the man who laughs is currently in its fourth reprint. How To Be A Megalomaniac or, Advice to a Young Politician was published in 2002 and Political Anecdotes was published in 2003. In December 2004, Duffy & Snellgrove published War and Pieces: John Howard's last election.
Kerry O'Brien is one of the most prominent and respected names in Australian journalism. He has won many accolades, including the top award in journalism, the Gold Walkley.
Born in Queensland, O'Brien started as a news cadet in 1966. He has worked in newspapers, wire service and television news and current affairs, as a general reporter, feature writer, political and foreign correspondent, interviewer and compere. O'Brien came to The 7.30 Report, after six years as compere/interviewer of the ABC's highly respected Lateline program. Since December 1995, O'Brien has been editor and compere of the national 7.30 Report. He also anchors and moderates the ABC's election telecasts.
Megan Stack has covered the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as the Palestinian intifada. She joined the Times' national desk in 2001 as Houston bureau chief. She was posted to Jerusalem in 2003 and, later that year, was named Cairo bureau chief. In 2007, with her colleagues in the Baghdad bureau, she was named a Pulitzer finalist for Iraq coverage and won an Overseas Press Club award.
A native of Glastonbury, CT, Stack studied Spanish literature at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and graduated from George Washington University in 1998. She worked as a reporter for the El Paso Times and covered Texas and the Mexican border for the Associated Press.
Megan Stack, foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, reflects on something "truly bizarre" that she observed while covering the Second Intifada in Israel. The morgue in Jaffa, she says, was filling up with the remains of Palestinian suicide bombers, and the question of what to do with them became a national issue.