The Independent’s Foreign Correspondent, Oliver Poole, addressed a group of excited journalism students at University College Falmouth. Instead of giving the expected talk about how to get a career in journalism or where the industry is heading, Poole chose to go down a different route, recalling some of his most exciting stories and explaining how to survive when reporting in a war zone.
Poole gave an explanation of the ’15 minute rule’, which was based around the idea that no plans could be formulated in that space of time and therefore they would move on after fifteen minutes. He said: “I had a guy whose sole job was to tap me on the shoulder when the fifteen minutes were up, because you can’t organise a kidnapping that quickly.”
Poole also suggested that the greatest form of defence you could have in a war zone was remaining inconspicuous, so he used to drive in older cars as opposed to heavily armoured ones and dress like a local. The former Iraq reporter said: “The last thing you want to do in these sorts of places is draw attention to yourself.”
Poole’s intriguing storys and humorous anecdotes kept the students captivated throughout and he left them with one small piece of advice: “Nothing gets you out of a problem quicker than cash.”