Interview with Adam Harvey, Indonesia bureau chief and South-East Asia correspondent at the ABC
Adam Harvey is the Jakarta bureau chief and South East Asia correspondent for the ABC. Adam will soon start as the ABC’s Middle East correspondent and will be based in Lebanon. For the new role, he will move to Beirut with his two young children and wife Eliza. The Walkley Award-winning newspaper journalist is also a former New York correspondent for News Limited. His Twitter handle is @adharves.
Why did you decide to become a foreign correspondent?
I was always really keen to work overseas – I guess for the same reason that has pulled generations of journos offshore, including my dad: the adventure. My first formal posting was in New York, for News Limited, but I’d already travelled pretty extensively before that, and worked at newspapers in Europe.
Being a foreign correspondent can be very dangerous. How do you keep yourself safe on the field?
Through careful planning of high-risk assignments, constant contact with head office to talk about the situation on the ground, and thinking about all sorts of hazards – which can be as mundane as a tired driver in outer Jakarta, or as extreme as a kidnap-for-ransom gang in the Philippines. Even the best planning can’t stop every hazard or every bullet. I’ve got a scar on my neck to remind me of that.
What story has been your favourite to work on so far this year?
The Malaysian Spring. I went to KL in early May thinking I’d be there for a night or two for a story about the re-election of the crooked government of Najib Razak. Instead, Najib was thrown out of power and cameraman Phil Hemingway and I were there for the best part of a month, watching a nation change for the better in front of our eyes. It was wonderful to witness Malaysia’s surge of hope and enthusiasm.
How do press releases help you in your work?
Anything that provides new information or analysis is helpful in this job. It doesn’t matter how that info gets to you, whether it’s a conversation with a contact, or a press release from an NGO that alerts you to an expert on the ground who’s available for interview. The best press releases contain 24-hour contact details and links to astute analysis and vision or audio.