As a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Lynda Schuster began her career in the 1980s in the paper’s Dallas bureau, covering agriculture in the Southwest. Six months later, she was named the Central America correspondent, reporting on the wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. In 1983, she became the Journal’s Mexico bureau chief.
Following the assassination of her first husband, Los Angeles Times veteran foreign correspondent Dial Torgerson, Schuster was transferred to Beirut. There she covered the Lebanese civil war, traversing the country in often perilous circumstances. (She arrived in the country not long after the car bombing of the U.S. Marines’ barracks.) During that time, Schuster also reported from the Persian Gulf, Israel and Egypt.
Schuster became the Journal’s South America correspondent after her stint in the Middle East. She wrote extensively on the trials of Argentina’s “Dirty War,” the government’s secret arrest, torture and murder of thousands of its own citizens. (And appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” as the sole guest to discuss the topic.) The Latin American debt crisis and Brazil’s transition to democracy from a military government were also part of her beat.
Schuster left the Journal in the late 1980s to follow her current husband, Dennis Jett, to his diplomatic posting in Malawi. Not long after arriving there, the Christian Science Monitor offered her a job as its South Africa bureau chief. In that capacity, Schuster covered the final throes of the apartheid regime—often trailed by the government’s security police. She also wrote about the wars in Mozambique and Angola.
She had to cease working in daily journalism to accompany her husband to his ambassadorial postings in Mozambique (1993) and Peru (1996). Her writing has since appeared in Granta, Utne, and The Atlantic, among others. (The piece she wrote for Granta about the death of her first husband was widely reprinted in magazines in the U.K., Latin America and Israel.) In 2004, her book A Burning Hunger: One Family’s Struggle Against Apartheid was published. It chronicled the story of the Mashininis, a black South African family of 13 children, all of whom were deeply involved in helping to bring down the apartheid government.