The Old Man of The C

Submitted by ub on Sat, 04/30/2022 - 10:49

My AP predecessor, correspondent Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea was a classic novella about a Cuban fisherman.

In 1951 American author Ernest Hemingway penned it in Cayo Blanco and published it a year later. It was the last major work of fiction written by Hemingway that was published during his lifetime. One of his most famous works, tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream waters.

In Greek mythology, the Old Man of the Sea was a primordial figure who could be identified as any of several water gods, generally Nereus or Proteus, but also Triton, Pontus, Phorcys, or Glaucus. He is the father of Thetis.

Today, I heard from an older colleague. A friend in need, and indeed, I first caught his eye in Belize, while I was chatting with an older attractive lady named Bianca Jagger. She is now a Nicaraguan social and human rights advocate and a former actress who was married to Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones.

His name is Martin Bell I call him the old man of the C because he is the highly reputed BBC war correspondent Martin Bell. When we met I was a much younger NBC journalist. We regrouped in El Salvador, where I became his field producer during the bloody days of that civil war. He asked me to take him to the war zone, so with my excellent Spanish language and people skills, off we went to Usulutan province where we found the guerrilla fighters, who were fighting the military. That experience almost got us both killed, but thankfully we survived with my fast-talking, by branding our vehicle with the words PRENSA and also exposing small hotel hand towels we were using as white flags. At the end of the day, we got our bang-bang story but at what could have been a very high price.

I too was a man of the C, NBC, albeit not nearly as old as my elder newsman. I take a job and love it. I am a well-traveled and equally well-respected media executive planning his final days in the news, and reflecting on the astonishing changes during my time in the business. 

As a veteran journalist and a former AP media executive, the knowledge and wisdom I pass along are to always do the right thing, it’s not winning at all costs. If it’s not honest, ethical, and legal, it’s not worth it.”

As I wrap up 2 decades atop, and inside the crossover media mode I can offer some perspective. Getting used to the classroom and making the transition from the newsroom and being somewhat unplugged is the biggest adjustment citing the hundreds of daily emails, countless conference calls, and relentless pressure to improve revenues.

Good people are the first and greatest line of defense against the many challenges facing our world today, Now at 83 years young, To me, Martin Bell will always be the old man of the BBC...  Bell wrote "Dear Roberto How good to hear from you.  Washington and El Salvador seem such a long time ago and a long way away. If I were younger I would be in Ukraine, but I am now 83 and in my old district, as it is the 25th anniversary of my unlikely election to Parliament. Those were great days we had together. Martin"