Longtime NPR Producer and Colorado College instructor Peter Breslow reflects on his 40-year career in new memoir

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Courtesy David Gilkey
NPR Senior Producer Peter Breslow reporting from a rally in Afghanistan in 2014.

A young and aspiring journalist named Peter Breslow once sent what he called “Gonzo” letters to the editors of the then-fledgling National Public Radio, asking for work. It was 1982 and he had been wandering around South America for the previous two years writing a travel book, which was never published.

He had next to no background in radio—and even less journalism experience. Nevertheless, to his surprise, one NPR editor liked Breslow’s letter and gave him a temporary post as an assistant producer for the network. 

“I am an impossible example,” Breslow told Colorado Matters. “I really didn’t know how to do anything. I couldn’t believe I got my foot in the door at this place.”

What followed was a 40-year career working closely with NPR’s most legendary voices, from Susan Stamberg to Scott Simon.

As a Senior Producer for All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, Breslow reported from warzones and natural disasters, from Mount Everest base camp to the South Pole.

Breslow recently released a memoir about his experiences, called “Outtakes, Stumbling Around the World for NPR.”

“I have gotten into so many snafus over the decades that really lend themselves to stories,” Breslow said. “Is this guy going to make it out of here alive? And, somehow, I come out the other side. I’m still not exactly sure how that happens.”

The two-time Peabody Award Winner retired in 2021 and now teaches radio journalism at Colorado College. He sat down in the studios of KRCC for an interview in February, following the completion of his most recent course.

You can hear the full interview by clicking the audio player at the top of the page.