Martha Raddatz’s Italian Advice: No Jokes

The ABC News White House correspondent learned the hard way how to approach Italian audiences.

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The usually articulate Martha Raddatz, ABC News’s chief White House correspondent, learned one lesson on her recent trip to Italy. “Don’t try and joke,” recommends Raddatz, who speaks “zero” Italian. Raddatz visited Urbino to pick up an Urbino Press Award for her reporting in Iraq and Washington for ABC, and also for her book, The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family. While the previous winner, Diane Rehm of NPR, attempted to read a paragraph in Italian, Raddatz opted for a translator when receiving the award, which didn’t work out much better. While attempting to crack a joke about visiting Ramadi and the Lincoln Bedroom in the same week, she joked: “I only slept in one of those places . . . and it wasn’t the Lincoln bedroom.” A few chuckled, but the humor was lost in translation. “It was stone faced,” she confesses to our Nikki Schwab. Other than that minor faux pas, she and her daughter enjoyed picking up the award. “It was completely charming and enchanting,” Raddatz says. “It was Italy how it was supposed to be.” And while Raddatz has a handful of other journalism awards, this one, and its complimentary trip to Italy, tops her list. Earlier, she was feted at the Italian Embassy in Washington for her coverage.