Nationality British
Born Cape Town, 1945


Work description Journalist, writer and photographer, editor
Experience 41 years (total 27 years freelance)
Work areas General writing, reporting, investigation, news/business features, columns, special projects, project management, general publishing, consultancy, journalism training
Subject areas General, Third World development, environment, science, arts
Published The Independent, The Observer, The Guardian, New Scientist, many other newspapers, magazines, journals
Books 'On This Day: The History of the World in 366 Days ', best-selling world history book for Octopus Illustrated/Random House (planning/coordination, main author); 'Planet Earth', Marshall Editions (contributing author); 'Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok', American Express travel guide (coordinator, co-author); many others -- Details
Photography I started carrying a camera in the 1970s as an accessory to writing, especially in freelance work; published many photographs, including photo-features and cover photographs for journals and magazines.


From June 2000 Japan -- Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo Pref., Kyoto Pref.: Journey to Forever project development, technology development, farming systems development, small-scale biofuels production development, general project preparation
1997-2000 Hong Kong: Freelance writer, editor, consultant; May 1997, started work on Journey to Forever project
1996-97 Hong Kong: Senior copy editor, journalist training, Hongkong Standard daily newspaper (freelance contract)
1994-96 Hong Kong: Freelance writer, columnist, editor, consultant
1993-94 Hong Kong: Senior copy editor, journalist training, Hongkong Standard daily newspaper
Jan. 1993 Stockholm: Arranging and taking part in an international seminar on 'Electronic Information and Journalism' at Stockholm University School of Journalism and Communications Studies
1991-92 London: Proprietor of South Pole Publishing Services, an environmental publishing agency:
  • produced a daily electronic newsletter distributed worldwide for a coalition of NGOs at the UN Climate Talks Ministerial Conference in Nairobi Sept. 1991, which produced the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed by 154 nations at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992;
  • wrote and produced the Annual General Report for Britain's National Organic Gardening Association, 1992;
  • consultancy projects, production projects, writing, editing
1989-91 London: Features sub-editor, The Independent newspaper
1987-89 Amsterdam: Publications Editor and Science Editor at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Holland's main Third World development agency, which runs about 80 projects in developing countries and covers all aspects of rural development and primary health care. It also has a major tropical diseases laboratory, a large ethnological museum, and an international research library. Worked with all departments, editing and producing technical and non-technical books, manuals and journals on a wide variety of subjects for the Institute and for other institutes (WHO, CTA, etc). Editor of WHO monthly "AIDS Exchange Health Promotion" journal distributed in three languages to health workers worldwide
1986-87 England: Freelance writer and editor (books and periodicals); I also ran an organic farming research project at a smallholding in Wiltshire
1985 Hong Kong: Chief sub-editor at Specialist Publications, producing five regional periodicals -- Media, Travel Trade Gazette, two computer titles and a broadcasting journal; helped set up one of the first computerized magazine production systems in Hong Kong
1981-84 Hong Kong-based freelance journalist, reporting on Hong Kong and South-east Asia for local, regional and overseas newspapers and journals. Hong Kong correspondent for Asian Business, contributor to New Scientist, The Observer, many other newspapers and journals in many parts of the world. For some examples, see Hong Kong and Southeast Asia -- A journalist follows his nose. I also ran an independent on-farm research and development project in a traditional Chinese village on Lantau Island in Hong Kong for three years. See Tai Long Wan -- Tales from a vanishing village
1980 Hong Kong: Managing editor of The Sun, a new daily newspaper, and then managing editor of The Star, an English-language daily with a Chinese-language co-edition. Following the retirement of its founder-editor, The Star was a failing newspaper; I was employed to "save its life", and tripled the circulation within six months
1978-79 London: Freelance writer and sub-editor at various newspapers and magazines; reported on Middle East and Third World issues
1977-78 Hong Kong: Night editor and then managing editor, The Star, an independent English-language daily newspaper with a Chinese-language co-edition
1976-77 Cape Town: Sub-editor, The Cape Times; I decided to leave South Africa following the apartheid government's response to the Soweto uprising of June 1976 (the police shot an estimated 2,000 schoolchildren). See About Handmade Projects and Journey to Forever
1975 Johannesburg: Chief sub-editor, Rand Daily Mail 'Extra' black townships edition
1974 Johannesburg: Music promoter in Soweto and the other Reef black townships, staged a series of mass open-air concerts, with recordings and movies. See Zebra Crossing -- On the wrong side of South Africa's racial divide
1972-73 Johannesburg: Sub-editor at The World, mass-circulation black townships daily newspaper
1971 Travelling in Britain, Europe and North Africa
1970-71 London: Sub-editor at the Press Association in Fleet Street; freelance sub-editor at The Sun, various weeklies
1969-70 Johannesburg: Sub-editor at The World, a mass-circulation black townships daily newspaper, later at Post, a "black" (non-racial) national weekly. I was deeply involved in black townships issues and spent much of my time in Soweto, until I was arrested for being there without a permit. I paid a fine and walked away, but it sparked a Security Police inquiry, and I left the country before they found out too much about what I'd been doing. This was a dangerous time in apartheid South Africa with its "emergency" laws -- friends and associates were jailed for long periods, many without trial, some were tortured, some were killed, some just vanished.
1967-68 Johannesburg: Reporter at The Sunday Express, a national newspaper. I had done good reporting on black issues, but the newspapers I'd been working for wouldn't publish it, so I left a good job at a top newspaper to join a black newspaper.
1966 Pretoria: Reporter at The Pretoria News
1965 Cape Town: Journalism School

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