Phil Williams: Thanks to the Fixers

“Fixers have an unbelievably difficult job trying to match the demands of foreigners with the realities of a local situation," said 2005 Ochberg Fellow and ABC journalist Phil Williams. "He or she must be all things to all people: bridge to communication, cultural and logistics gaps; deal with all different personalities, also under pressure, sleep-deprived and in a hurry to get the story out." 

On last week's edition of Correspondent's Report, Williams, who was the first ABC journalist to travel to the MH17 crash site in Ukraine, offered his gratitude to the oft-overlooked fixers and drivers who have kept him and other foreign journalists safe, and helped them do their jobs more effectively.

He spoke of his "nervous but also incredibly brave" fixer, Anzor, who "learnt his English watching movies" and only recently began working with foreign journalists. 

“Somehow he organised the vital press passes that enabled us to go through the separatist checkpoints. He negotiated with the rebels, organised everything from hotels to buying batteries, phone credit and, later, access to the Ukrainian president,” said Williams. “And all this in a city controlled by rebels who have been detaining foreign crews and, especially, their fixers.”

Click here to listen to the full piece. And for those who are freelancing in conflict zones, be sure to check out tips from Dart Centre Europe's Gavin Rees.

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