Monthly Archives: December 2010

Oh Anderson! My first love of international news…

When I first became really interested in watching international news, Anderson Cooper became my man. He became a familiar face (and not a bad one at that) anytime the world was in peril.

Cooper, who joined CNN in December 2001, served as CNN’s weekend anchor before moving to prime time in March 2003 following the war in Iraq and then to a two-hour, late evening timeslot in November 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.

Cooper often reports from the scene, most recently from the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and the BP oil spill in the gulf.

Cooper also traveled around the world for Planet in Peril, a documentary about issues threatening the planted during most of 2007 and 2008.

Being young and impressionable when I first started following Cooper, it made me look at journalism in a different way.

In addition to reporting for CNN, Cooper also reports for CBS’s 60 Minutes. Dispatches from the Edge, Cooper’s memoirs about covering the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and other news events, recently topped the New York Times Bestsellers List and other bestseller charts.

Although I have to admit that I haven’t followed Cooper as much in his later career, he was at one time an influence in my life.


Christiane Amanpour


 I started watching CNN during the first Gulf War, which ended in 1991 and was Christiane Amanpour’s first major assignment. It was before the thought of being a journalist ever entered my brain, but I remember thinking, who is this woman, she’s pretty good?  Until then I had watched Bernie Shaw and Wolf Blitzer, the main men on CNN. But when Amanpour came along it added a strong female presence to the mix.

Since then, Amanpour—who was born in London and spent part of her childhood in Tehran, Iran—has reported on and from the world’s major hot spots including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Rwanda, the Balkans, and the U.S. during Hurricane Katrina, according to her biography on ABC. After 9/11 she was the first international correspondent to secure interviews with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. She has interviewed other world leaders from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Iranian Presidents Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the presidents of Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, and Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat.

Amanpour’s has received every major broadcast award, including an inaugural Television Academy Award, nine News and Documentary Emmys, four George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, an Edward R. Murrow award, and nine honorary degrees!

 In October, Amanpour was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was also made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her “highly distinguished, innovative contribution” to the field of journalism. In 1998, the city of Sarajevo named her an honorary citizen for her coverage of the Bosnia war.

Amanpour’s credentials say more than I ever could about her.  Catch her on TV if you can.

Karen Russo: War Correspondent

By Sarah

Back in March, I went to a weekend journalism conference at Smith College in Massachusetts, a women’s college where I went for undergrad. One of the last presenters on the last day of the conference was Karen Russo, a fellow Smithie from the class of ’96 who is now an international correspondent for ABC News.

Now based in ABC’s New Delhi, India bureau, Russo reports on and off the air for TV, radio and online. But it was her previous work that really grabbed my attention: She’s worked in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a war correspondent.

At the conference, Russo described how she had to start working out months before the assignment in order to carry around 200 pounds’ worth of camera equipment — and that’s on top of the already cumbersome protective clothing she had to wear. She described jumping out of helicopters, bombs detonating and dealing with truth-bending military personnel as if it were another day at the office. Ironic, considering the way the lifestyles of the Iraqi and Afghani women down the street.

Russo was smart, down-to-earth and, well, nice. She loves her job, and no, she does not have a family. In fact, she said she hasn’t even got a thread of a social life, a fact that drew a fake-dramatic sigh from her mother in the audience.

Hey, you can’t have everything.

Oh — and before starting at ABC, Russo was a print journalist. Maybe someday I’ll go to war.

(Watch one of Russo’s pieces here. I love her question, “Does it ever seem strange that no one comes out of their homes and asks why you’re on their land?”)

Gregory Warner

Warner at his best

Gregory Warner is a young independent radio producer. The first time he went to Afganistan he brought his accordian and made the movie below. He’s produced for This American Life, Radio Lab, All Things Considered and other radio programs.

He’s received two Edward R. Murow awards for his feature on an autistic youth. But his most risky adventures were spent abroad reporting in Afganistan during the war.

He produces interesting and fun to listen to audio stories, such as this piece on contracted security in Afganistan to protect soldiers.

Earlier this year he was a presenter at the Third Coast Audio Festival here in Chicago. His presentation explained how to communicate in an area of the world where, well, you can’t communicate. He explained the need for a fixer and how certain audio could be used regardless if the lister would be able to understand it; but that the emotion in the voice would be enough effect.

I respect him because he takes chances but knows how to keep his composure and still produce quality stories about important issues for the mainstream media.


Brian Ross





By Josh Newkirk

Brian Ross is one of the top investigative reporters in the country.


Ross is the ABC News’ Chief Investigative Correspondent, he reports for “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America,” and “20/20,” as well as for ABC News Radio and “The Blotter” on


Ross joined ABC News in July 1994, since then he has won many journalistic awards. Recently his team made headlines and won an Edward R. Murrow award for their groundbreaking reports on auto company CEOs who flew in private jets to ask for public money in Washington.


The reason I picked Ross, is because he is always deep in to the story. he reports on the worlds top issues and is on many news outlets. He also has won numerous amounts of awards and he is a respected journalist.

Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling is an American journalist and a correspondent for CNN and the Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also a former co-host of ABC’s The View. Ling has done several international investigative reports including bride burning in India, child trafficking in Ghana, and gang rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as many national stories.

In 2008, CNN’s award winning documentary Planet in Peril featured Ling in the series’ second installment, called “Battlelines”. She expsed excessive shark fishing in Costa Rica, elephant poaching in Chad, and gave an inside look at the battle for the control over oil in Nigeria.

What I admire most about Ling is her ability to ask all the right questions and tell the story in a compelling way. She has traveled all over the world telling the stories that need to be heard. I look forward to her a documentary series on Oprah’s new network, OWN beginning in January 2011.


Posted by Margarita Williams

A globetrotter international correspondant

Jean-François Bélanger, 42, is a longtime Canadian international correspondent. He did his undergraduate in Quebec before moving to Paris for a Masters in journalism at La Sorbonne.

Then, he started to work in the French capital for French-CBC. He later joined the newsroom of this media organization in Montréal. However, Bélanger became more known after he moved to Sénégal where he was the international correspondent in Africa for both English and French CBC. While in Africa, he covered several conflicts, including in the Republic Democratic Congo and the Ivory Coast, and he won an award for his reporting package in Mauritania about the feeding of young girls.

More recently, Belanger was in Liban in 2007 after the attacks from Israel. He has been integrated in the Canadian army where he covered the troops operation in Afghanistan.

He was one of the first Western journalists that covered the H1N1 flu in the affected region of Mexico. He is now the new international correspondent for French CBC in Moscow.

I admire his work because he is not scared to go into war conflict territory. Like me, he has a passion for presenting news stories that help the viewers/readers to understand the local problems and get rid of their prejudice.

Submitted by Jean-Virgile Tassé-Themens

Amanpour’s above the rest

By Angelica Jimenez–

When she was hired an a entry-level assistant on the foreign desk for the fledgling CNN back in 1983, few could predict that Christiane Amanpour would become one of the world’s most renown and respected foreign correspondents.

Amanpour, 52, received her break three years later when she covered the Iran-Iraq war. Her ability to navigate dangerous terrain helped move her up in the ranks.  She was quickly sent to Europe during the fall of their communism era and then to Kurwait to cover the Persian Gulf War.

Amanpour has had her moments of controversy-most notably over her coverage of the Bosnian War.  Some claimed she favored the Bosnian Muslims, and she explained that this was not a case where one could be neutral.  But she still gave both sides equal time.

The award winning correspondent was the first to snag interviews with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac.  Her fearlessness in the face of peril combined with her journalistic talents and multi-lingual skills make her the gold standard in the world of foreign correspondents.

Add that to the fact that she appeared in the series finale for one of my favorite shows, “Gilmore Girls,” playing herself, Amanpour is in a league all by herself.  And her advice to the soon-to-be journalism graduate Rory is especially meaningful right now.

But now that she’s returned to the states to host ABC’s “News This Week,” who has the chops to step up to take her place?  Any takers?

Eastern Sudan Not Forgotten

By Wendy Wohlfeill

A large amount of money is being contributed to an area that has been lost in the shuffle of civil war.

Donors and investors have pledged more than $3.5 billon to eastern Sudan at a specially-arranged conference in Kuwait a BBC news article reported.

According to the article, eastern Sudan is seriously underdeveloped, yet receives far less attention than Southern Sudan and the western region of Dafur.

The conference was put together to help “revitalize the region” that has been forgotten.

Large donors included Kuwait, who pledged $500 million.

Skeptics say that previous financial pledges to such areas have not always been respected.

Africa Needs Roads, Technology to Prosper

By Kelsey Duckett

A Kenyan-born Harvard professor told leaders from five East African countries on Thursday that the continent can feed itself within a generation if farmers embrace modern technology and governments expand infrastructure and harmonize regional markets.

Calestous Juma said in the article that Africa should focus on agriculture as an engine for regional trade and prosperity.

The article stated that Juma told the presidents of Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania as well as the prime minister of Rwanda and foreign minister of Uganda that they must embrace modern technologies, including biotechnology, and continue to expand basic infrastructure like roads, irrigation canals and energy grids. Farm mechanization and food storage also must be improved.

According to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 1 billion people around the world are undernourished. Nearly 240 million of those people are in Africa. About 70 percent of Congo’s population – or 42 million people – are undernourished. In Ethiopia, it’s about 41 percent – 31.6 million people, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.