Monday, January 4, 2010

Rotorua reporter works with Obama

CAREER WOMAN: Former Daily Post reporter Anna Fifield (right) and her partner Nadeem Alazzawi (left) with First Lady Michelle Obama and US President Barack Obama. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Anna Fifield has gone from working as a Daily Post reporter to rubbing shoulders with US President Barack Obama on a regular basis.

The former Daily Post journalist is the US political correspondent for the London-based Financial Times newspaper. She has a desk at the White House and is rostered once a month to trail the President all day.

The 33-year-old's first job in the media industry was working for The Daily Post's sister publication in Whakatane, The Eastern Bay News. She worked for the weekly publication for about six months before joining The Daily Post team in May 1998, where she stayed until September 1999. She covered the Rotorua District Council and court reporting while here.

Her journalism career has taken her from The Daily Post to London, Korea, Iran and now to the White House.

She has been based at Washington since September, which she describes as "a real privilege".

Ms Fifield pressed palms with Barack and Michelle Obama at a White House party on December 18, thrown for the political journalists stationed there.

"They were incredibly chipper and friendly to us," she said.

She described Obama as being very "measured" and someone who always thought everything through.

"I have to admit that we journalists are suckers for Obama too. We have to make a conscious effort to ... go back to being hard-nosed hacks."

Her mum, former Rotorua woman now living in Hastings Chris Hall, said she was "a very proud mum".

She said her daughter travelled in the President's motorcades and attended press conferences.

"She's excited about it," Mrs Hall said.

"She's enjoying her new life," she said.

When her daughter emailed her the photograph with the President, she said her husband initially thought it was Ms Fifield posing with cardboard cutouts.

Mrs Hall is hoping to visit her daughter in October and would love to meet the President.

"Maybe I'll be able to get closer ... it's quite amazing really."

She said her daughter started out small and had achieved so much. "She realises that she's come from small beginnings to such an awesome job now."

Mrs Hall said her daughter was a career woman who, although she had had a lot of encouragement from her parents, had achieved everything on her own merits.

"It's all down to her, she's done it."

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