As a New York-based correspondent, Rick Leventhal covers a broad spectrum of stories for Fox News. Today, he is reporting from the Javits Center on the annual New York Auto Show, unveiling the 2014 Jeep Cherokee live during “Happening Now.” The Auto Show is a layover for Leventhal, between two more serious stories: the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq War and the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
Leventhal, who joined Fox News in 1997, covered both stories — the war for nine weeks as an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marine Corps’ 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and the hurricane during a “very scary night” in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.
Reflecting on the Iraq War, Leventhal calls his time embedded in Iraq and Kuwait “the pinnacle” of his career as a reporter.
“I look back on it and can’t believe that I was there. It was such a challenging and exhausting experience, physically taxing and demanding,” he tells TVNewser. “[It was] by far the greatest assignment I’ve ever had.”
Leventhal, who has made five trips to Iraq and four to Afghanistan, said he wouldn’t hesitate to go back to another war zone.
“If that’s an assignment that’s offered, my hand would be up just like it was ten years ago,” Leventhal says. “That was the ultimate assignment… we were allowed to report anything that we saw, and we did.”
Next week, Leventhal will be in Bay Head, New Jersey, continuing his ongoing reports on the communities still struggling six months after Hurricane Sandy. His reports will focus on homeowners battling to rebuild in the wake of the storm.
“My feeling on that is that it’s always best to tell the story through the eyes of people that were directly affected by it,” he says.
Leventhal said the emotional reporting he has done on wars and natural disasters can be a “big contrast” from the lighter stories, such as today’s reporting from the car show.
“I have mechanisms that allow me to continue to report in difficult circumstances and to be focused on my story and my assignment,” Leventhal says. “There are times – sometimes weeks afterwards – that it will hit me. But I’m pretty good at separating and staying focused on the task.”