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William Claiborne

During a 32-year career with The Washington Post, Bill Claiborne held mostly foreign and national news positions, as well as city news reporting. He had foreign bureau postings in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and was bureau chief in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as being based in Washington as a traveling national news reporter. He and his family now live in Melbourne, Australia.

Claiborne's first newspaper job was with The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, where he worked for six years before becoming the city editor of The Suffolk Sun, a Long Island daily that folded after three years. In January, 1969, Claiborne moved to the Washington Post. Over a 15-year period beginning in 1978, Claiborne and his family lived in Jerusalem, New Delhi, Johannesburg, and Toronto. He retired from The Washington Post on Sept. 6, 2001, and the next day set off for his new home in Australia, where he currently guest lectures, blogs and-what else?-travels abroad frequently.



As Aussies move toward a carbon tax, what are the lessons for the U.S.?
ASK THIS | July 15, 2011
In Australia, despite strong industry and partisan opposition, the Labor prime minister is putting her coalition on the line on behalf of a clean energy initiative. Here writer William Claiborne examines the environmental isues, the politics (both Australian and American), and the steps toward remediation. His piece is a primer for reporters and editors who want to deal with global warming more seriously.

In Australia, after bin Laden
COMMENTARY | May 03, 2011
A generally low-key reaction to the jihadist's death. And, as in the U.S., a push in some quarters for more dialogue on pulling out of Afghanistan -- but not among the nation's top leaders. Aussies make up the largest non-NATO contingent in Afghanistan, about 1,500 troops.

Want to avoid gun massacres? Australia shows how
ASK THIS | January 31, 2011
Firearms in Australia, as in the U.S., have been a basic part of the culture. But in 1996, after a young gunman, Martin Bryant, killed 35 people and injured 21 more, a conservative prime minister took the lead and the country rapidly enacted powerful restrictions. For example: You say you need a gun for self-protection? Forget about it.

Americans go to Vietnam (and love it), so why not Cuba?
COMMENTARY | December 03, 2010
Bill Claiborne and his wife recently spent some time in Vietnam; he even put together a travelogue. The trip evoked memories of Cuba -- and the sense that the American press should do a better job on why restrictions still exist, and what to expect when Castro is no longer on the scene.

After all this time, can 'facts on the ground' be overcome?
COMMENTARY | September 30, 2010
In 1980 Ariel Sharon took two Washington Post reporters on a day-long tour in his Land Rover and, map in hand, hilltop by hilltop, told them they were looking at what would be “irreversible facts on the ground.” Now, with West Bank settlements at the crux of Israel-Palestinian negotiations, Bill Claiborne, the Washington Post’s Jerusalem bureau chief at the time, looks back on that prophetic interview.

The press and unintended consequences in Afghanistan
COMMENTARY | September 23, 2010
A veteran correspondent looks back on the Afghanistan-USSR war and glorified press coverage of the mujahedeen, the forerunners of the Taliban. Some were extremely anti-Western even then. Would history be different had there been more balanced reporting?

Afghanistan and the U.S. from afar: Doubts on the rise
ASK THIS | September 11, 2010
On this 9/11 anniversary, writer Bill Claiborne surveys Australia’s and other small countries’ changing views of the Afghanistan war. One difference: the Vietnam-era word 'quagmire' is being heard more and more.

What a broken Senate looks like from far away...and why it matters
COMMENTARY | August 30, 2010
Our correspondent in Australia has ideas on how to improve things a little. But he’s not optimistic that anyone on Capitol Hill will be interested.

For a model health care system, how about Australia's?
ASK THIS | August 24, 2010
'Medicare for all' isn’t just an expression in Australia, it’s a reality, and there aren’t any death panels or government intervention in the choice of doctors or treatment. Bill Claiborne, a longtime Washington Post reporter now living in Australia, describes the system.

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