By Donna Parker
As storytellers go, Michael Drudge ’73 has a few tales of his own to report, and he does, as correspondent and London Bureau Chief for Voice of America radio. A journalist for more than 30 years, Michael has covered stories in numerous exotic locales with glamorous names amidst very dangerous backdrops, such as the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, the conflict in Kashmir and the war in El Salvador.
“It is almost impossible when doing my job to be completely safe. I was involved in the war in El Salvador and knew several photographers who were killed or wounded. It’s gotten even more dangerous, so VOA requires a journalist survivor course.”
Michael has reported from the war in Iraq on two separate occasions, but the third time refused to go back. He is a family man with a wife and daughter in college.
“My mother-in-law called crying about it. The VOA understood my decision completely. Everything is voluntary and there are no repercussions if you turn down an assignment.”
“I don’t enjoy reporting terrible tragedy, but an example of what I do enjoy is a story filed recently about the English Heritage plaque showcasing the WWII home of Edward R. Murrow, CBS Bureau Chief,” Michael says.
It’s a long way from his first assignment at the San Antonio Express-News, secured through help from Trinity journalism professor Dave Burkett. That led to a subsequent job in Mexico City, for which Michael earned a stunning $200 a month, but his career was off and running when he was recruited by United Press International (UPI). He was named El Salvador Bureau Chief, where he served seven years before returning to Washington D.C. to become the state department correspondent under Secretary James Baker.
So how does this “non-native Texan, but been there since I was 10,” remain grounded amongst those stiff upper lips with a penchant for fish ’n chips? Look up – to the fifth-floor balcony of Michael’s historic London home – where you’ll find him cooking up some barbecue smothered in his own homemade sauce.
“Maricela and I look forward to a day when we can get off the road and settle down in San Antonio. I would love to get involved in the Trinity community again, and give back some of what I got.”
The department of communication will surely leave the light on for you.