Anderson started his career as a journalist with the U.S. Marine Corps for six years. After leaving the military in 1970, he worked at a small TV station in Iowa while attending Iowa State University, receiving dual degrees in journalism and political science in 1974.
He joined The Associated Press, serving in Japan and South Africa before getting assigned to the Middle East bureau in 1983.
After his capture in March 1985 and release in December 1991, he never practiced journalism again. He received treatment to help him cope with his ordeal, but it was years before he could acknowledge the damage that being held hostage had done.
Over the past two decades, Anderson has taught at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, the University of Kentucky and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
For the past 20 years, he also has been involved with the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonprofit watchdog group that promotes freedom of the press worldwide, monitors violence against journalists and "takes action whenever a journalist is attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed."
Anderson has spent his post-captivity years at other trades. He's tried his hand at running a restaurant, owning a blues bar and raising horses. He said he has more injuries from raising horses than he sustained during his time in captivity.more » « less