National Geographic : 1998 Dec
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Assignment * SOUTH CHINA SEA Just What He Always Wanted "I dreamed about being a foreign correspondent when I was a kid," says writer Tracy Dahlby (above, with notebook), interviewing fishing families in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay. Tracy credits growing up in multiethnic Seattle with helping him realize his ambition. "It was early training on how to fit in how to get past that door on a culture that says 'No Entry'-which a journalist needs to know." His passion for Asia was kindled at age seven, when he reluctantly accompanied his grandmother to the theater. "The film was Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," he remembers. "Not a title to catch a little boy's interest, but the movie opened with an incredible CinemaScope view of Hong Kong har bor. William Holden played this dashing reporter, and I thought: That would be an interesting job." It has been. Tracy majored in history at the University of Washington, then entered Harvard's East Asian studies graduate program. While studying Japanese in Tokyo, he freelanced for the FarEastern Economic Review. Journalism came naturally. "I discovered I'd rather be out in a real place than reading about it in the halls of academe," he says. After earning his degree, he returned to Japan, eventually heading the Tokyo bureau of the Washington Post,then of Newsweek, and was managing editor of that magazine's inter national edition in New York City. In 1988 Tracy left Newsweek for documentary filmmaking with partner Alex Gibney. Their first effort, The Pacific Century,won an Emmy. Their second, based on David Halberstam's book The Fifties, aired on the History Channel last year. NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBY THENATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY,114517THST.N.W.,WASHINGTON,D.C . 20036-4688. $27.00A YEAR,$5.00A COPY.PERIODICALSPOSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D.C ., AND AT ADDITIONALMAILING OFFICES.POSTMASTER: SENDADDRESSCHANGESTONATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O.BOX 63002,TAMPA, FLORIDA33663-3002.