The 5-Minute Interview: Christiane Amanpour, television journalist

'I seek to stick closely to the truth; I call it old-fashioned journalism'
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Christiane Amanpour, 49, CNN's chief international correspondent, is famous for her work in conflict zones. Her latest documentary, 'The War Within', airs on CNN on 20 January at 8pm.

On her documentary:

Since 9/11 newspaper readers have seen one very partisan view of what the Islamists and extremists, who are preaching violence and jihad, are doing and little attention is given to what the vast majority of Muslims think about it. There is no denying that the radical foreign policy adopted since 9/11 has caused an enormous amount of anxiety and anger across the board. They are fed up with their religion being hijacked and the whole Muslim community being targeted with suspicion of terrorism. But they are motivated to see what they can do about it.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Preparing for my next trip, which is to Iran and parts of the Islamic world. I'm going to explore this whole dynamic of this clash of cultures and see what's beneath the surface to try to use my voice as a journalist to increase understanding rather than increase tension.

A phrase I use far too often is...

"Frankly speaking". It's a verbal tick or a point of emphasis.

I wish people would take more notice of...

The truth and what's really going on rather than sensationalism. I don't think anyone can claim to know the truth but I seek to stick very closely to it. I call that old-fashioned journalism, which is rooted in fact-based journalism as opposed to opinion, commentary, agenda or ideology.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

Surviving a 105mm Howitzer shell in Sarajevo in 1992. It was fired into the room next to mine at the Holiday Inn but it was faulty and didn't explode. Had it done it would have taken out the whole floor.

A common misperception of me is...

That I'm a tough nut. I'm tough when I have to be. It's a very useful characteristic but I'm not just tough.

I am not a politician but...

If I was one I would really try to tackle the environment, poverty and the emerging clash of civilisations and hope to be able to do that based on real policy not just on politics and pandering.

You know me as a journalist but in truer life I'd have been ...

Journalism is true life and I came to it through what I experienced in my life, having lived through the revolution in Iran, and so I can't imagine being anything else.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

As Fred Friendly, the former president of CBS News, once said: "Our job is not to make up anybody's mind, but to make the agony of decision-making so intense you can only escape by thinking."

Sara Newman

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