Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Haiti Six Months Later (Day 2)

Hi everyone. Teams 360 and Gupta again come at us live from Haiti for another night of stellar coverage. I'm hoping more people tuned in this time. Because last night? Not so much. *Sigh* I think I made an actual audible sad noise when I read those ratings. To me, this a three-fold bummer: 1) The coverage is important and people need to be watching. 2) Good ratings mean a better chance of getting to go back or staying longer. 3) They deserve to be acknowledged for a job well done.

An equally disappointed friend of mine made an excellent--though cutting--point: "How are viewers supposed to know the show is suddenly good?" Despite 360's recent slightly stale broadcasts on the BP oil disaster, I'd actually argue much of that coverage has been solid, but overall quality consistency still seems to be their mortal enemy. Promotion only goes so far. They need to expand their base viewership, and they're never going to do that with such fluctuations in quality and content. I'm sure I can guess some of what they'd say to that, but I'm getting off track here. Que sera, sera, right? Ratings don't diminish their dedication to Haiti, and for that we should all be thankful. Now, about those bullet points...
  • The broadcast begins with Anderson Cooper at the live shot in Port-au-Prince, giving us a recap of all the goings-on. His piece on Haiti's rubble/debris problem is below. Randy Perkins of Haiti Recovery Group reports that he's ready to go with heavy equipment, but has been unable to get a contract to begin clearing. As always, there's is no coordination plan.
  • After his piece, Anderson talked with Sanjay Gupta and we learned more about the customs tax debacle mentioned last night. This may be neither here nor there, but I like that their conversations always sound natural. You know how news people sometimes act dumb and ask questions of each other for the benefit of the viewer, which then sound really fake? I hate that.

  • After watching Sanjay's piece, I've come to the conclusion that CNN should be required by law to provide their viewers with stress balls. You know, those ones that you squeeze? Because good lord! Those poor kids in that orphanage (including a two-year-old who doesn't even have a name) are practically starving to death and food has been just sitting for months in a warehouse right down the road, undistributed. I understand bureaucracy, but that's just unconscionable. How many more starving Haitian orphans are out there who weren't lucky enough to be touched by the well-connectedness of a famous journalist/neurosurgeon?
  • It's easy to see how navigating the NGO world can be difficult. I had a tough time just getting a handle on the organizations in Sanjay's piece, which led to some information-gathering post-show tweeting. When first learning about the bare cupboards, the good doctor called his contact Eric Klein of can-do.org (follow them on Twitter where they have pics of Sanjay-->candoorg), who ultimately helped them out. The photographs in the piece were taken by a contact of Eric's, Adam Marlatt of Global DIRT: Disaster Immediate Response Team, which actually sounds like a pretty cool organization. Adam, together with his fellow marine Robert Sullivan, founded Global DIRT shortly following the Haiti earthquake. You can follow them on Twitter here-->globalDIRT, an account which is run by representative Kim Driscoll. My friend Lauren did an interview with Kim about the organization back in April, which is an excellent read. Finally, check out their blog post related to Sanjay's piece.
  • Anderson: "Again, a two-year-old who doesn't have a name, I mean, it's just...," *speechlessness* Exactly.
  • All of that is below. Supposedly Sanjay and his producer Danielle Dellorto were on Backstory today. Another reason I wish I had CNNi. There's a possibility they'll get around to putting up the video at some point. I'll try to post it later. Someone remind me!

  • It's good to hear Bea is doing well--as well as she can given the circumstances anyway.
  • From Joe Johns we learned the disappointing news that we are a deadbeat donor! Haiti should totally call us up during dinner time to demand their money (the U.S. has pledged $1.15 billion and delivered zippo). Bureaucracy, excuses, bureaucracy, excuses. The shamefulness can be viewed below.

  • Ivan Watson actually got a piece in the broadcast tonight, the focus being Camp Corail, which was built 10 miles outside of Port-au-Prince in the hopes of moving people out of the city. How's it going? Things could definitely be better.

  • Randi Kaye popped in for our nightly oil disaster update. Still optimistic murmurings from BP, but nothing really tangible. I love that Anderson went on a mini transparency rant. You weren't expecting BP bitch-slapping while we were in Haiti, were you? Our anchor apparently has outrage reserves, yo!
  • Gary Tuchman accompanied the International Rescue Committee on their quest to find the father of four-year-old Jean. The boy lost his mother in the earthquake, and now no one knows if he's a true orphan or is merely separated from his family. His story unfortunately is not unique, and sadly does not end happily--or at least not yet. And yes, I laughed at Gary's, "Do you like girls?" question, mostly because the editing made it seem like it came out of nowhere. Too cute.

  • My boys (Anderson, Sanjay, Gary, and Ivan) returned with their panel! Except, they called it a "reporter roundtable." There's not actually a table, but then again, they're also not actually "my" boys. So who am I to quibble? Anyway! Remember when Gary went to that nursing home and it was just so awfully, awfully sad that you wanted to cry? Well, he went back and things are better now. So yay! Ivan then talks to us about camps and Sanjay tackles the organization problems.
  • Anderson: "They need really smart guys from Google to just, you know, spend a few days coming up with some sort of a program or come down here for a few days and just figure out a way to collate all this information." Get on that, Google guys! You're taking over the world anyway.
  • I think Gary was going to say something more, but our anchor's like, you snooze, you lose. It's not polite to monopolize "share time," Anderson. Aw, I kid because I love.

  • The broadcast was very good. I'm sad they only got two days. I guess it's back to the oil disaster tomorrow--also an important story. Anyway, this bullet point contains a shout out to 1213PJ. I don't know who this person is or why they have been dutifully uploading the broadcast every night, but they are awesome and I am thankful.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw. That bullet point was like a blogger group hug. :-) Thanks for the link, sweetheart!

8:39 PM  

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