Uli Schmetzer began his journalistic career in 1960 at the Sun-Pictorial in Melbourne . In 1963 he joined the Sydney Sun where he wrote, between 1965-66, a daily column called Uli Schmetzer on the Fringe. In 1966 Schmetzer went to Mexico where he joined Reuters as a local hire covering Mexico and Central Latin America.
He was sent by Reuters to Havana. In 1970 he became a Reuters staff correspondent. He was bureau chief in Venezuela and later in Rio de Janeiro covering South America. In 1977 he resigned from Reuters and worked as freelancer based in Rome for U.S., South African, British and Australian newspapers. In 1986 the Chicago Tribune offered him the staff job as Rome bureau chief covering also the Arab world and periodically Israel.
In 1988 he was assigned to be Asia Correspondent based in Beijing with a second office in Manila, covering South East Asia and the Pacific until 1996. That year he became South East Asia Correspondent based in Manila (1996-98). He was appointed New Delhi bureau chief (1998-2000) responsible for the Indian subcontinent. In 2000 he was appointed as Bureau Chief in Tokyo. Though based in various capitals Schmetzer was constantly on the road as a ï¿½firemanï¿½ or ï¿½parachuteï¿½ journalist flying into trouble spots across the world Schmetzer has won three in-house rewards for foreign reporting and an Alternative Pulitzer for his report on the CIA trying in vain to buy back at twice the original price from Afghan warlords the Stinger missiles given to them gratis during the Afghan war against Soviet occupation.
Schmetzer retired in 2002 but was kept on staff as a Special Correspondent on a year by year contract basis. He resigned from the Chicago Tribune in 2004. He now lives part of the year in Italy, Australia and the Philippines.