Friday, January 29, 2010

Home From Haiti

Hi everyone. As many of us suspected, today Team 360 left Haiti. I am both saddened and relieved. The CNNers have spent two-plus weeks operating in hellish conditions. They surely deserve to see their families, and I hope they're taking the opportunity to get some much needed rest. Their work has been astounding and all involved should be proud.

Perhaps it's evidence of my growing cynicism over the years that I'm not anywhere near as devastated today as I was the day Anderson Cooper officially left New Orleans. Always the last reporter standing, he had been there for a month. Obviously at that point he needed to leave to take care of himself, but there was the general feeling that his departure represented something larger: the beginning of the forgetting.

I suppose I'm simply resigned to the fact that eventually--maybe even soon--Haiti will be forgotten. We all know the lyrics to this song. It's an election year. Politicians will be making ridiculous statements at a greater frequency than usual, and The Best Political Team on Television will be there to cover every moment of idiocy. Somewhere, a celebrity scandal will break, a pretty co-ed will go missing, and Americans will clamor for the details. Viewers will begin to complain about Haiti coverage: "You need to move on from this story. There are important things happening in our own country."

That's not to say all will turn away. Many of those who saw the tragedy unfold with their own eyes will go back. But their visits and pieces will become fewer and farther between, and though they may fight for the coverage, they will be up against a media system & culture that rarely encourages extensive follow-up reporting. Independent journalists will write meticulously researched articles based on months of work. Not many people will read them or know of their existence. Significant milestones will bring network coverage, but for the most part the country will disappear into the background. Like other stories before it, this is how the story of Haiti will play out.

I don't write this to be depressing. Maybe I am wrong. I hope that I am wrong. But this is what I see in my crystal ball. I'm sure the CNNers we've been watching these past weeks will do their best, as will I in my own way. I'm not one to remain quiet when I see important stories bumped out of the headlines by fluffier fare. Of course, blogging an issue can be akin to screaming into a black hole, so there's that. For Haiti's sake, let's hope the world's eyes don't leave for a long time.

At this point, what I most want to express is thank you. Thank you to the entire team who brought the story of Haiti into our living rooms every day. Thank you to the correspondents and reporters, the producers and photojournalists, the fixers/translators and drivers, the coordinators, the engineers, the security personnel. Thank you to those back in New York and Atlanta who worked to get their colleagues reporting to air. And a special thank you to Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, Gary Tuchman, Ivan Watson, Karl Penhaul, Charlie Moore, Neil Hallsworth, Vlad Duthiers, and Danielle Dellorto for doing what you do.

In prior posts, I have included behind-the-scenes videos of the CNNer's Haiti reporting. Below are some additional segments that might interest you. In the first video, producer Alec Miran shows us the complicated logistics involved in getting coverage of a rescue live on the air. Senior photographer Dave Rust, Charlie Moore, and Anderson Cooper also appear.

The next video follows Chris Lawrence as he attempts to enter Haiti, and then tries to find gas. Gary Tuchman has a cameo.

Karl Penhaul had trouble getting into Haiti as well, which we see in this video. Producer Terence Burke is featured.

In this video, Karl Penhaul and cameraman Jerry Simonson talk with Michael Holmes of Backstory regarding the day they witnessed police officers shoot men over bags of rice.

Finding a bank in Haiti can be difficult. In this next video, Luis Carlos Velez attempts to do just that.

Finally, producer Alec Miran again acts as our guide, this time giving us a tour inside CNN's Haiti operations. We hear from assignment desk producer Samson Desta, engineer Darryl Trimm, Tim Crockett of security, and producer Terence Burke. Anderson, Charlie, Sanjay, Karl, Gary, and Brian Todd are all seen as well.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

"The beginning of the forgetting". Shows like ABC's Nightline barely mention anything, now it's all about Young's book on Edwards. Due to the large Haitian population in the U.S. and the close proximity of the country; I think that should help in keeping some continuing coverage. Your 4th paragraph says it best about what will happen. I am sure emotional adjustments will be bumpy to have to go from inhaling the stench of rotting,burning bodies to yacking it up about what crazy thing a politician or celebrity said. The links you provided lets you see the team of people involved in what it takes to bring a story to the air. You've done an excellent job of posting these past two weeks, writing with honesty and compassion. Anne D.

6:01 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

I hope you're right about the American connection propelling more coverage. Kinda sad that something like that is needed to get some people to care, but it is what it is. I dunno. I'm getting this vibe that people are already moving on. Troubling.

Yeah, I imagine it's going to be beyond bizarre for them to transition back to states, where irrelevancy can abound. I still remember being dragged to a movie shortly after Katrina and feeling like I was on a different planet. And I hadn't even been there.

Thanks for reading.

7:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from