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NEW YORK (AP) — Marcus Eliason, an international reporter whose insightful reporting, sparkling prose and skilful editing have graced the Associated Press News Network nearly Half a century later, he has passed away. He is 75 years old.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, contracted pneumonia in a nursing home earlier this week, and died Friday in a New York hospital, his family said.

From Israel and the Six-Day War of 1967 to apartheid-era South Africa, to the battlefields of Afghanistan, bloody Belfast, the fall of the Iron Curtain, the return of Hong Kong and countless other dates and stories, Eliasson has witnessed and reported on some of the great world events of the last decades of the 20th century. As that century drew to a close, it was Eliasson’s touch to usher in the new century.

“From east to west, from north to south, the world ushered in a new millennium in a tapestry of sparkling song and light, spreading across the globe,” he wrote in the main article for The Associated Press on January 1, 2000 .

By then, he had completed his last position, where he retired in 2014 as the New York editor of some of the AP’s biggest stories and projects — and finally, as editor-in-chief of international feature stories, a valuable mentor Hands serves dozens of Associated Press reporters around the world.

“A classic AP first choice has gone,” said former AP President and CEO Luis Bocardi. “Even a quick glance at his syllabus abroad and at home says it all. If there’s a daunting task that requires a steady hand, Marcus is usually the go-to.”

“Marcus is a fantastic writer and editor, knowledgeable, intelligent and supportive,” said John Daniszewski, former AP International Editor, now AP’s Vice President and Standards Contributing Editor. “He can make words sing and dance,” observed Claude Erbsen, a longtime journalist and global Associated Press executive.

Jack Marcus Eliason was born on October 19, 1946, to Jewish immigrant parents in Europe and grew up in Bulawayo, Rhodesia. At the age of 20, after a brief apprenticeship with Israel’s Jerusalem Post, Eliasson joined the Associated Press’s Tel Aviv bureau as a messenger and trainee “hole puncher,” the teletype machine used to transmit stories. operator.

A month later, on June 6, 1967, the Arab-Israeli conflict known as the “Six-Day War” broke out. When the new employee came to work and was blamed for not arriving earlier, he told him he had to buy emergency food for his mother, dig a bomb shelter in the backyard, pick up stranded hitchhikers and more.

“Don’t stand there talking about it, boy,” growled an old hand. “write down.”

He did, starting a stellar journalism career and being promoted to special correspondent a year later. When asked once how he learned to write so well, he replied, “By hitting copies of those good reporters at the Associated Press bureau in Tel Aviv.”

Throughout the 1970s, Eliasson’s bylines were among some of the biggest stories in the Middle East: terrorist attacks and unrest in the Israeli government, another Arab-Israeli war, Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977.

“The Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is in Israel on a peace mission. It is Saturday, November 19 at 7:59 pm,” he reported. “For the Israelis, no doubt for the Egyptians, it’s more amazing than Neil Armstrong’s foot touching the moon.”

In 1978, Eliasson was sent to the Associated Press bureau in Paris, where, among many other assignments, he reported on the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led Iran’s Islamic revolution from a distance.

After returning to Israel, Eliasson moved to London, where he was promoted to news editor. His incisive reporting and masterful prose stand out in one of the AP’s premier “writing bureaus,” whether covering the bloodshed of Northern Ireland’s “troublesome” or a relationship with “the world’s worst poet” William McGonagall, among others British geeks have fun.

“Scotland makes poets proud, and there is no town without a statue of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott or Robert Louis Stevenson,” Eliason wrote in Dundee. “But in his Hometown mentions the great McGonagall, and reactions range from soulful laughter to painful silence.”

Next, he returned to Israel, this time as director, leading a group of journalists and photojournalists who had won awards in the 1990s, overseeing the uninterrupted flow of news from the Palestinian uprising, the on-and-off Arab-Israeli peace talks, the political struggle in Israel, and the Scud missile from Sarawak. Dam Hussein’s Iraqi attack. From there, he completed his last international assignment in Hong Kong, where he has been writing about the 1997 handover of the British colony to Chinese control.

Over the past few decades, the Associated Press has also tapped the talents of the sociable, South African-accented Israeli big man—a high school graduate whose insatiable reading and knowledge often surprised colleagues – Temporary missions in some of the hottest places in the world, in some of the most important stories of the era.

He reported from Afghanistan after the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979, and from his southern African homeland during its worst anti-apartheid upheaval. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Associated Press sent Eliasson to visit ordinary citizens along the borders of the former Iron Curtain, to report in depth on the meaning of this epic chapter of 20th century history.

In 1997, he left Hong Kong for the Associated Press headquarters in New York, where he worked as editor-in-chief of feature articles from around the world, a recognized guru who became a group of young foreign journalists from Beijing to Berlin to Buenos Aires ‘s mentor and friend.

“He was one of my young journalism heroes—those riveting, unattainable bylines,” said one of the reporters, Ted Anthony, now director of new storytelling and newsroom innovation at The Associated Press . “And then he became the greatest editor I’ve ever had, an astonishing combination of encourager and enforcer. And a dear friend.”

When he retired after 47 years at The Associated Press, Eliason said, “I’m a guy who’s worked my whole life. No fellowship, no vacation, no parental leave. I’m so excited about it. ”

The last time he left his desk, he heard applause erupt from the sprawling New York newsroom of the Associated Press. “It was a gracious, spontaneous gesture that reminded me again how lucky I was,” he later wrote. “Fortunately for the Associated Press,” Bocardi said.

Eliasson is survived by his wife Eva, a daughter Avital and a son David.


Charles J. Hanley was a writer and editor for The Associated Press from 1968 to 2011.

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