Freelance journalist pays tribute to teacher before return to Afghanistan

Freelance cameraman and foreign correspondent Joe Sheffer took time out from reporting on the world’s trouble spots to present a talk to Year 13 pupils on setting and achieving goals

Joe (OE 2000-2007) has spent the last five years working in some of the world’s most dangerous territories. He has been covering the ongoing ‘Arab Spring’ in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Yemen.

Last year, he was detained in, and later deported from, Bahrain whilst covering the country's ongoing civil unrest.  Recently, he travelled to Afghanistan to cover the pull-out of NATO troops from the country and was embedded with US troops in the south.

His coverage of the Arab Spring has been broadcast and reported in media outlets including Channel 4 News and The Guardian.

""Joe paid a visit to his alma mater to talk about his experiences. He told the boys that it is important to be determined and persistent in order to achieve goals. “It’s true that some people benefit from nepotism, but many decide to carve out their own path,” he said.

Joe followed his own very individual route to success: it was on a gap year of overseas travel that he realised he could use his skills to launch a career as a journalist and cameraman. “I have to acknowledge my Art teacher at QE, Stephen Buckeridge, who taught me the basics of video technology and how to develop my skills as a film-maker. I also learnt at QE that it’s vital to pursue a career that you are passionate about, which doesn’t necessarily have to follow a conventional route.”

Immediately after giving his talk, Joe returned to Afghanistan, moving to a new base in Kabul, where he is continuing to film and report.