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Words Worth a Thousand Pictures

Alumnus, photographer held captive in Libya speaks at UM.

Coral Gables (April 14, 2011) — He was held in a steel prison, beaten, and starved. The last thing his captors told him was that we would return to the United States—in a box.

Getty Images photographer and University of Miami alumnus Joe Raedle said the physical pain he endured while being held captive in Libya for four days was “easy to deal with,” but the psychological toll of the ordeal was unbearable.

“The blindfolding, handcuffing, not knowing where you are—that’s the stuff that sticks with you,” explained Raedle, a veteran war correspondent who, along with two other journalists (Agence France Presse photographer Roberto Schmidt, also a UM alumnus, and reporter Dave Clark), was captured last month by forces loyal to Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi and imprisoned for four days.

The three were on their way to Ajdabiya, where Qaddafi loyalists had been fighting eastern rebels, when soldiers ordered the journalists out of their vehicle at gunpoint.

On April 12, Raedle spoke of his harrowing experience for the first time at UM, addressing an audience of about 150 people, many of them student journalists, at the School of Communication.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen. Your future is no longer in your hands,” Raedle said.

He was joined by his wife, Nancy San Martin, interactive editor for The Miami Herald. San Martin said she and Raedle chose to speak at UM in the hopes that sharing their experience might in some way help students become better journalists. “You all are the future of journalism,” she said.

Raedle left the audience with a message: “You have to have passion,” he said. “This is not a job but a lifestyle.”


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Photojournalist Joe Raedle and his wife, Nancy San Martin, interactive editor for The Miami Herald, take questions from the audience.

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