Just the title "foreign correspondent" - has an aura of adventure and danger.
Brad White enjoys living up to what the folks back home imagine him doing. He even owns the requisite trench coat, though he seldom wears it with the collar turned up.The former investigative reporter for KSL Television is a foreign correspondent for CNN network, covering everything from skirmishes in the Persian Gulf to Michael Jackson's concert in West Berlin.
He's based at CNN's Central Europe headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.
White didn't have Frankfurt in mind when he took German at Cottonwood High School.
"I either flunked German or barely didn't flunk it," he said. "When the German instructor asked me why I didn't study, I said, `You tell me when I'm going to use it"' - words that haunt him now as he struggles to pronounce his way through life in Germany.
White left KSL 4 1/2 years ago, partly because CNN made him an appealing offer and partly because he believed KSL was losing some of its commitment to investigative reporting.
He was the point man for Probe 5 during the unit's glory years when it pulled down six national awards, including three Emmys, for unveiling several multimillion-dollar scams - including Grant Affleck's AFCO - and revealing appalling conditions in several Utah nursing homes. White worked for KSL from 1978 to 1984.
Nowadays, he covers daily news in Germany and drops in on other countries a couple times a month.
"I go places I never thought in my life I would end up going to under circumstances I never imagined. You can come into the office and an hour later you are on a plane to Athens because a crew ship has been shot up by terrorists."
In a typical month, White may do several stories in Germany, an OPEC meeting in Vienna, a conference in Brussels and a breaking news story in another country. Last month, it was the economic demonstrations in Yugoslavia.
White spent most of the summer of '87 in the Persian Gulf. He was with the first CNN team flown in when the United States started escorting Kuwaiti tankers. He's proud of that summer.
"I would far rather be in the Persian Gulf, flying over Iranian warships, talking to them on the radio, having them get nasty and getting an adrenalin rush over that than sitting at home with a wife and two kids having a cup of cocoa."
His work in Europe has shown him how little Americans know - or care - about what goes on in the world.
"Americans are embarrassingly ignorant about Europe - bordering on stupidity. They don't really know what's going on over here. They don't try to know."
Europeans are avid news consumers, and hence, much more informed, White said.
"I can tell a West German I'm from Utah, and he'll know about the great skiing, the Osmonds and the copper mines. There's a message there.
"When a documentary plays on German television, people go home to watch it. When a documentary plays on American television, people switch over to `Three's Company."'
Europeans have a respect for journalists that Americans don't. White enjoys that.
"In America, whatever is wrong, it's the media's fault. In Europe, journalism is an honored profession. They like journalists. They respect the work they do."
White's work forces him to be an avid news consumer. He watches all of ABC's, CBS's, NBC's and CNN's newscasts. He reads wire service copy each day, listens to newscasts on short wave radio and skims stories in Time and Newsweek.
But it doesn't alarm him to be sent on a breaking story that he doesn't have the background for. The basic principles of college journalism always apply _ find out how many are dead, how many are injured, how did it happen, who might have done it and whether or not they got away.
Often, that's all he has time for. "You can drive up to the scene of a breaking story and an hour later you are at a satellite uplink station, beaming the story back to the United States."
White wants to come back to the United States one day, but he doesn't plan to work in Utah.
"When I've worked a 14-hour day, raced to make a satellite feed and I'm sitting in my hotel room with a gin martini, I think, `It would be great to go to work at the same place every day.' But when I'm flying in a helicopter over the Gulf, and there is a beautiful sunset and I can hear the prayers from the mosques in Dubai, I think, `This is the life!"'
"Journalists pick a job and build their lives around their jobs. We're in it for the adrenalin rush."