• Kosovo’s Growing Pains A few weeks ago, in a burger bar in Kosovo’s capital Pristina, a local man heard me say I was from Scotland and struck up a conversation. He had lived in the Sighthill area of Glasgow for some years, came home after the Kosovo war ended in 1999 and now worked in insurance. But Kosovo’s […] 4 min read
  • The Sweet Smell of Old Belgrade Written for BBC Radio Four’s From our own Correspondent, broadcast on November 14, 2015, and also featured on the BBC website: I hesitate before the deep maroon shopfront. The shop, in a cobbled street in central Belgrade, looks like it hasn’t changed in decades. Little bottles of scent and old black and white photos decorate […] 4 min read
  • Whose side are you on? Kosovo football dilemma sparks identity debate Written for BBC Radio Four’s From Our Own Correspondent, broadcast on November 10, 2016: The fans of Kosovo’s national side are in good voice – even though the team’s so new that they don’t yet have many songs to sing. “We want victory!” they chant in the bus taking them to their first official home […] 4 min read
  • Loggers begin to see light in Congo Basin forests IN THE RAINFOREST OF SOUTHEASTERN CAMEROON, Feb 2005 (Reuters) – Standing in a clearing by a pile of recently felled tree trunks, Edmond Fouda says life as a woodcutter has changed in recent years. “Before, we went much faster,” he said, clutching a bottle of water in the searing heat. “It was really wild compared […] 5 min read
  • War more grim than glamorous for U.S. unit in Iraq KIFL, Iraq, April 2003 – In the first days of the Iraq war, soldiers in the U.S. army’s most decorated tank battalion were somewhat frustrated at not being in the fight. Some worried the only stories they would have to tell would be of guarding roads, bridges or camps. Now they have real stories to […] 4 min read
  • Dinner in Geneva led to Rumble in the Jungle KINSHASA, October 2004 – When a guest at a plush dinner in Geneva asked where Kinshasa was, she set off a chain of events that led to one of the world’s great sporting showdowns. Zaire’s President Mobutu Sese Seko was furious his fellow diner was ignorant of the country’s capital. When he had calmed down, […] 3 min read
  • Soccer And The Media: Did Louis Van Gaal Offer To Van Go? LONDON, Feb 2016 – Did Louis van Gaal offer to quit as Manchester United manager? If so, when? After a defeat to Southampton, as the Guardian reported last week? Categorically not, according to the BBC and the Telegraph. How about twice over Christmas, as the Times recently reported? Maybe, but the Daily Mail says he’s […] 7 min read
  • The Criminal Consequences of Kosovo’s Post-War Disorder An EU prosecutor’s accusations of ethnic cleansing by Kosovo Liberation Army commanders reveal uncomfortable truths for the West. An image has stayed with me from a hot summer day in Kosovo in 1999. The burned-out ruins of a house are smouldering beneath a blue sky. A British soldier is trying to douse them with a […] 5 min read
  • Military reporting needs new fronts Too often journalists allow the military establishment to dictate public debate, doing everyone a disservice — including the armed forces. The headlines were full of the sort of dramatic language that might describe defeat in a major field battle. The country had taken a “military gamble” and was reported to be “at risk”; troops had been “wiped […] 13 min read
  • The Quiet Death of the late-night DJ The nocturnal radio host is a familiar figure from movies and TV dramas — but the BBC has decided it can’t afford a real one. To explain his love of radio, John Peel, the late and much lauded BBC Radio 1 DJ, often recalled a night in the 1960s when he lived in the United States: I was driving […] 8 min read