Dogged, driven, determined to cover the world.
Those words might describe any war correspondent. The same words were used to describe New York Times journalist David S. Rohde at the beginning of his career, in his first newspaper job, as a suburban correspondent in 1993 and '94 for The Inquirer.
"David was one of those correspondents that just wouldn't be stopped. He went after everything. He was very dogged," said Linda Linley, who edited Rohde when he covered Warminster Township and other Bucks County communities for The Inquirer.
Even then, Linley said, Rohde was certain he wanted to be a foreign correspondent: "That was always in the back of his mind. That's all he really wanted to do, and he just kept after that path to get there."
Rohde, 41, escaped from the custody of the Taliban after seven months of military captivity in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan, the New York Times reported yesterday.
It was Rohde's second capture by hostile troops. In 1995 he was held for 10 days by Bosnian Serbs after reporting about the discovery of mass graves for the Christian Science Monitor.
That reporting won him the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1996. This year, he won another as part of the Times' reporting team covering Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rohde, a native New Englander who graduated with a bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1990, worked at The Inquirer as a member of a group of non-staff correspondents who covered communities in the suburbs of Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
Paul Jablow, a retired Inquirer editor who hired Rohde for the correspondent program, recalled that he had no "clips" - past newspaper articles considered standard job-hunting equipment - and that his journalistic experience was limited to a television station internship.
He arrived in Philadelphia after working as a press aide for an unsuccessful congressional candidate in Colorado, Jablow said.
"Low-keyed, red hair, dry wit, and just one of those guys you just knew was going to make it," said Jablow.
"He was just very quiet, very modest, very intense, and very determined," recalled Kathryn Quigley, a fellow Inquirer correspondent in Bucks County, now an assistant professor of journalism at Rowan University in South Jersey.
Even working for The Inquirer, Quigley said, Rohde was freelancing for the Christian Science Monitor, his next stop in journalism.
Jablow recalled one other characteristic about Rohde that made his survival of two kidnappings understandable.
"He was obviously fearless, though he didn't have to worry about getting hurt in Bucks County," Jablow said. "He was never flashy . . . and nothing he has accomplished since has ever surprised me."