Dagbladet’s long-standing London correspondent, journalist Jan Tystad, has died, aged 86. With his passing, an extensive and roving reporter’s life is over.
From the end of the 60s, and for many years beyond, Jan Tystad was Dagbladet’s permanent correspondent in Great Britain, and when he was back home from London for periods, he was a watchman or preferably a traveling reporter in the foreign editorial office. He covered the whole world – from Bangladesh to Brazil, from Biafra to Belfast – there were more than forty deployments to Northern Ireland to cover “the Troubles”. In South Africa, his anti-apartheid reports ensured that Dagbladet was refused entry; in Greece he was declared “persona non grata” for his reports on the military junta. In Britain, he preferred to write more about politics than about princesses.
Jan Tystad was a world reporter with a conscience – always on the side of the weak. Behind his gentle nature lay a burning need to report on all the world’s injustice; he had a radical and committed disposition. He had Robin Hood as his role model, ever since his childhood in Bergen and Nordfjord. He studied law before becoming a journalist, was active in the People’s Movement against the EEC, he interviewed Melina Mercuri and Bishop Tutu and Helder Camara – while John Le Carré and Doris Lessing became his friends in Britain.
He wrote books about child soldiers, about weapons of mass murder, about refugees and war profiteers. He exchanged letters with prisoners sentenced to death – and well into his 80s he visited refugee camps and crisis areas and reported back home about war and conflict. Jan Tystad became a role model for many younger reporters at Dagbladet.
He died in London, the city that became his beloved home for several decades. Right up until the end, he wrote a book about his own memories from his childhood years in a ravaged Norway.
Jan Tystad leaves behind his wife Alix and sons Anders and Martin.