• New Zealand-born reporter Peter Arnett will speak about the media’s critical coverage of war starting in Vietnam.
• Arnett won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1966 and an Emmy for his dramatic coverage of the first Gulf War in 1991.
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• He became controversial when he gave an interview to state-run Iraqi TV criticizing the U.S. government’s war plan.
Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Peter Arnett, who became most famous for his coverage of the first Gulf War and an interview with Saddam Hussein, headlines this year’s Roger Tatarian Symposium at Fresno State.
Arnett, who retired in 2007 and is now living in Orange County, will speak from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday in the Satellite Student Union. His talk will focus on the media’s coverage of war.
The Tatarian Symposium, which is free and open to the public, brings top figures in journalism to campus for lectures. The event honors the late Roger Tatarian, a former editor-in-chief of United Press International and a longtime journalism professor at Fresno State.
The lecture is sponsored by Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism.
Arnett, a New Zealand native, started his career as a weekly newspaper reporter at age 17 and worked his way up to dailies in Australia and Thailand. In 1960, he was a stringer for The Associated Press in Laos where he swam across the Mekong River to Thailand several times to file his stories when the Lao government was overthrown.
The AP later sent Arnett to Ho Chi Minh City to cover the Vietnam War. He stayed for 13 years and in 1966 won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Arnett continued working in Vietnam even as his colleagues were evacuated in 1975. He was typing a story in the AP office when soldiers walked in. Arnett offered them warm sodas and continued writing about the day’s events.
Six years later, Arnett joined CNN. He won an Emmy for his dramatic coverage of the first Gulf War from Baghdad in 1991.
Arnett created a little controversy of his own, some years later, when he gave an interview to state-run Iraqi TV criticizing the United State’s war plan.
After retirement, Arnett taught journalism at a university in China. He wrote an autobiography called, “Live from the Battlefield,” in 1994. His new book, “Saigon Has Fallen,” will be released April 23.