A memoir-type story about my own experience as a freelance journalist covering the abortive communist coup attempt in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept 30, 1965.
Working with Eliot for two weeks traveling to three different Indonesian regions improved my photographic skills a lot. As a result, I sold more photos to Keystone Press and made more money out of that stringing job. Time-Life Books also paid me a generous fee for my full-time two-week assignment with Eliot. Eliot was very kind to me teaching me a lot of things about good photography. We finished our assignment in early October 1967, a month before Grace was due to give birth to our first child. Life magazine decided to call off the Java rhino photographic stake-out in early November. So when I said goodbye to Eliot who was going back to New York, I told him I would give our child a name to remember him by. And so we named our first baby girl Elisa. Eliot died in early 1973.
Another major story I did for Time magazine was an interview with Prof. Dr. Emil Salim towards the end of 1974 assigned by Roy Rowan, the Hong-Kong-based Asia Bureau Chief. Time’s Asia edition wanted to get opinions from noted Asian economists on the role oil would play in the world’s economy the following year. The editors also wanted them to come up with an economic forecast for 1975 taking into account the role of oil in the economy. The story came out in the year-end issue published either in late December 1974 or early January 1975. At the time Time magazine didn’t put the name of the reporter or the editor who did a story published in the magazine They changed this practice in later years and gave by-lines to reporters and editors. But the Letter from the Publisher appearing in the year-end issue stated the story was written “… by Roy Rowan, Asia Bureau Chief, based on an interview with Dr. Salim by TIME’s Indonesia reporter Tommy Graciano …” So it was some kind of a by-line which made me quite happy. The story was illustrated with a head shot of Dr. Salim that I took for which I was credited under the picture.
Dr. Salim was Minister of Communications but, as chairman of the Indonesian Economists Association, was the country’s top economist then. I had met him when he was still a member of Acting President Suharto’s team of economic advisors in 1967. Suharto appointed him to his ministerial post when he became president a year later. I arranged for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News correspondent Bill Cunningham to interview him on-camera for an Indonesian economic feature story he was doing in 1969.
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