American Reporter Staff
July 11, 2007
BRADENTON, Fla., July 11, 2007 -- In a hopeful sign that relations between the United States and Iran may indeed be growing warmer after recent face-to-face meetings between U.S. and Iranian diplomats, American Reporter Correspondent Walter Brasch has been asked by an Iranian television producer to provide live commentary from time to time on a daily television show, "Four Corners," devoted to world news.
Producer Soheila Ghodsi told Brasch in a note Monday that "Press TV," Iran's equivalent of CNN, has been using his articles published in The American Reporter for some time as a basis for commentaries on the show. Press TV launched July 2, and according to National Public Radio is planning to compete with Western media. There are no restrictions on what may be broadcast, Press TV officials say.
Ghodsi asked Brasch, a former state president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and a Professor of Journalism at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa., is currently weighing the offer, American Reporter Editor-in-Chief Jo Shea said. Brasch is the author numerous books on a wide variety of topics (see below).
"We need to be talking to the people of Iran and doing all we can to defuse tensions between our two countries, find the common language of our two peoples, and build bridges of friendship that will be sturdy enough to let us cross the abysmal divide that separates us now," Shea said.
"I can't think of anyone more knowledgeable and intelligent than Walter Brasch to take on that task," Shea said. "Frankly, I'm a little bit jealous!"
"I hope I can play a role, too," Shea said. "I have been to Tehran, written about Iranians in America, and have a strong desire to reduce the heated rhetoric that is so prevalent now. I'd lioke to see it replaced by the voice of humanity's longing for a just and respectful peace. We can all speak that language."
Shea said that he has noticed Iranian readers visiting The American Reporter website for the past couple of years, and last year wrote to his far-flung correspondents urging them to take advantage of their influential international audience. "I think this is the first concrete product of that call for dialogue," Shea said.
Under the auspices of the U.S. Dept. of State, the U.S. Information Agency, and the International Visitor's Council of Los Angeles, about 150 journalists from some 50 nations have visited The American Reporter to discuss journalism in the Age of the Internet.
The American Reporter was started as the result of a discussion on the Society of Professional Journalists general journalism mailing list that started at the end of March 1995, and began publication on April 10, 1995 as the first e;ectronic dfaily newspaper with original content to start on the Web.
The paper's frequent editorials on the Irish peace process may have aided it in AR Correspondent Stephen O'Reilly's getting the global scoop on the IRA's decision to declare a cease-fire on Good Friday, 1998, Shea said.
"When then-Irish President Mary Robinson visited Los Angeles, I was invited to meet her and she thanked The American Reporter for our contribution to the peace," he said.
"I hope this new development is a quiet signal to the West that Iran intends to remain in good standing as a member of the world community of nations that desire peace," he said. "Democracy is very much alive there, and that is a positive indication of their capacity for development and change."."
Shea said the paper has a relatively small but highly intelligent international audience and boasts some of the finest writing on the Internet. Longtime AR Correspondent Randolph Holhut, for instance, won First Prize this year for the best editorials in daily newspapers in Vermont.
In 1999, Indonesia Correspondent Andreas Harsono won a Nieman International Fellowship, with a year's board and tuition at Harvard, for his hard-hitting articles on the peaceful demonstrations that toppled President Suharto and restored democracy in the world's fourth most populous nation.
Longtime AR Correspondent Walter Brasch's current books are