Paul Raffaele was one of the founders of the ABC's AM and PM and went on to found the ABC bureau in Beijing. He moved in 1975 to be the ABC bureau chief in Bangkok covering Southeast Asia. In both places he scored several world scoops. He was the first Australian journalist to be based in Mao's China, the first Australian journalist to visit North Korea and he got himself deliberately captured by Cambodia's murderous Khmer Rouge and then talked his way out of possible execution while getting a world scoop for the ABC.
In 1976 he changed to writing and photographing major features for some of the best magazines in the world. He specialises in dangerous and remote places with charismatic large wild animals such as anacondas in the Amazon and tribes still living in the Stone Age. While with Reader's Digest he scored a world exclusive with the first feature, 'Hero of a forgotten people', on the then little known Bishop Belo of East Timor. The cover-story feature in Reader's Digest was read by one hundred million people worldwide in 19 languages. Later the same year, when the bishop won the Nobel Peace Prize, he stated publicly that Raffaele's feature story was a major factor in him being given the prestigious prize.
From 2004 to 2008, Raffaele was the top feature writer for Smithsonian, one of the US' top feature magazines. His features were based on his theme 'adventure with meaning'. They included confronting slave-owning Tuareg nobles in Niger, journeying to the last cannibal tribe on earth in New Guinea, chasing pirates with the US Coastguard in the Persian Gulf, and going eye-ball to eye-ball with great white sharks off South Africa.
In April 2008, while on assignment with the Afghanistan police, Raffaele was seriously injured in a suicide bomb attack by a 12-year-old boy. The bomb went off eight metres from Raffaele. Two policemen at his shoulder were killed along with 20 other policemen. Raffaele was hit by several pieces of shrapnel, which are still there to this day.
Raffaele is the author of five books; his latest, Among The Great Apes, was published in the US and Australia in 2010. Raffaele is the only person on the planet who has been with all the great ape species and sub-species in the wild and in the book he details their diverse lifestyles and spotlights their plunge towards extinction. He sets out the way the world can save the great apes in the wild.
Raffaele now appears on screen on the top-rating Channel 7 programme Sunday Night, mostly in tandem with Jamie Durie, covering stories in the Arctic, the Congo, Ethiopia, Tibet and Borneo.
Raffaele's speaking style is refreshingly off-the-cuff and compelling, a mixture of fascinating and intriguing information he has gained on his many journeys. Leavened with humour, his stories are illustrated with powerful and telling photos and video footage from his many adventures.
Paul Raffaele has been described as 'one of the greatest journalists of our time' (Bernard Ohanian, Editorial Director, AAPR (the US' best-selling magazine) and former Deputy Editor, National Geographic magazine), 'the last of the great old-fashioned adventure writers' (The Washington Post), and 'a supreme storyteller' (Chris Willcox, former worldwide editor-in-chief, Reader's Digest). Alvin Toffler, famed US author of multiple best-sellers including the seminal Future Shock had the following to say:
'Paul Raffaele is nothing less than a one-of-a-kind world treasure. Travelling by camel back and canoe, wrapping an anaconda around his neck, dancing with tribesmen, uncovering supposedly non-existent pockets of slavery - he brings back accurate, colourful stories from the remotest regions on earth. He reveals to us how diverse human beings can be. His writing will not only grip readers but provide invaluable material for the historians of tomorrow.'
Paul Raffaele travels from AustraliaAustralia
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