Steve Harrigan is not your typical foreign correspondent.
For one, the Fox News correspondent is based in Miami. He loves to cover hurricanes when he’s not flying to an international hot spot. And lately, many of his reports have been filed from countries like Venezuela, Colombia, and Bolivia — not the most common destinations for American television correspondents.
“I think Fox might be ahead of the curve on South America and Latin America,” Harrigan says. “Whenever I’ve pitched something like Bolivia, they’ve said go. Sometimes we’ll be on a story like the election of Evo Morales where it seems like we’re the only people there.”
The countries have been neglected, but they’re changing, Harrigan says: “Some countries down there [are] really changing their direction.” There are many stories to cover: Massive immigration, hardcore leftists coming to power, anti-American sentiment, etc.
“I think Chavez is going to be a huge story… it’s going to come to a head at some point,” Harrigan says. He’s also particularly interested in covering Cuba over the next few years.
Harrigan has reported from Mexico, Chile, Haiti, Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela, among other countries. He says the access has been really good.
“The concern is kidnapping” in some countries, “but after Iraq it really doesn’t feel bad,” he says. “Colombia really seems like a breeze compared to Baghdad.”
Harrigan’s been to Iraq about a dozen times.
“Usually when I come back, I think I don’t want to go back… But sometimes you see other reporters over there, doing some great reporting, and you watch it, and you get an urge to go back again,” he says.
He’s going back to Baghdad in July.
Harrigan spent 10 years as a CNN correspondent based in Moscow. Since joining FNC in October 2001, he hasn’t stayed in one place for very long.
“For one year I was posted in Israel and I didn’t even spend more than a week in Jerusalem,” he says.
Harrigan was added to the Miami bureau in December. He estimates that he spends about a quarter of his time in Miami and three-fourths of it on the road.
“I’ve been bugging them” — his bosses in New York — “to cover hurricanes for a while, so they said ‘why don’t you just move there?,’” he recalls. “This has been a good base as far as that goes.”
It’s also a good base for coverage of the Southern hemisphere.
“I think [where you live] matters less and less now, so you might as well choose to live somewhere nice,” he says.
Harrigan says it’s a great time to be a foreign correspondent. “Whenever I come back to the states and talk to people, I am more and more impressed by how much people know and how much people care about what’s going on,” he says.
As a reporter, his goal is simple: “I try to go to the worst places on earth,” he says, delivering the line casually but confidently.
“If I can just get there and tell you what I see and what I think and what I feel, I think that connects with people. They want to see it, they don’t want a lecture, they just want to see what’s happening in the worst spot.”
He tries to show viewers the worst conditions in both battle zones and hurricane zones.
“There’s weather guys and there’s war guys. But there’s a lot of similarities,” he says. The one thing different about hurricanes, he adds, is that no one is deliberately trying to kill you.
Harrigan’s FOXNews.com columns have been widely praised for their candor. He’d love to write a book — “we’ve pitched it to a few literary agents,” he says.