Riots in city streets, bombs going off overhead, a royal wedding and more… Peter Stefanovic covered all of it throughout his time as a foreign correspondent for Channel 9 and now he’s opened up about his time on the road.
After returning home after eight years overseas as a reporter, Peter has written a book about his experience, titled ‘Hack in a Flak Jacket’ – a raw and eye-opening account of what it’s really like to be a foreign correspondent.
“I was going pretty hard and fast for a long time,” he told SAS’ Ian Skippen over Skype.
“It’s good to collect my thoughts and rest a little bit.”
Pete is known around the country thanks to his reporting and his equally famous brother, Karl Stefanovic, host of the Today show, and while we’re used to seeing the two of them laughing and joking around on screen, it wasn’t always like this.
Often when Pete was doing live crosses to Karl back in the studio in Australia, he was in the middle of a war zone or surrounded by rioters and protesters.
He says there were a few times where he thought he might not make it out alive.
“There were a couple of times where I thought I was in a lot of trouble – especially places like Egypt where it was very intimidating … where government forces, or forces loyal to the government, were starting to crack down on the press, where a lot of media where getting beaten and kidnapped and intimidated.
“I was taken out of a taxi and marched down to this makeshift police station and it was very dodgy and dark and underneath a bridge and I was lead in there and I thought I was in trouble there.
“I try not to think about that kind of stuff,” he says. “It’s too distracting otherwise. If you go in there thinking about what’s going to happen to you you don’t concentrate on the job at hand.”
It was after reporting on a succession of violent stories the Middle East, a mass shooting in Norway and riots in London that Pete says he was pushed to his breaking point and decided to seek help.
It was actually his fellow reporter Robert Penfold who recommended he seek help to deal with all the violent images swarming around his head and taught him there was no shame in talking through everything he had witnessed.
Now that he’s back home, Pete says he’s happy to be able to spend time with his fiance and fellow Channel 9 reporter Sylvia Jeffreys and his family.
He’s already looking forward to Christmas too as it will be the first Sylvia spends with his family.
“Maybe she’s not knowing yet just what she’s in for,” he says.
“It’s always a big one with Karl!
“There were so many Christmases I had overseas and I was just by myself basically so it’s nice to be amongst that and have a good laugh.”
Pete’s book ‘Hack in a Flack Jacket’ is out now.