Monday, July 24, 2006
Trying to avoid becoming a target
A lot of you have asked us to discuss some of the logistical challenges of covering the fighting. The reality is that how and where to report this story is, at best, a case study of making decisions on the fly.

Here's a download of where we are so far today:

Over the weekend, Anderson and his team hoped to get to the Tyre area in southern Lebanon. As you know, this area was a site of intense Israeli targeting in recent days. So the calculus for us became: Even if we could get there safely, could we actually get back out? Another big issue: Could we actually get a broadcast signal out of the Tyre area?

Among broadcasters there is a concern about how our small convoys of cars full of equipment and personnel look from the air. There is a risk Israelis (eyes in the sky: drones, satellites) could mistake them for a Hezbollah convoy headed closer to the border and within striking distance of Israel. So simply being on the road with several vehicles is a risk.

Plus, when we fire up our broadcast signals it is unclear what we look like to Israeli military monitoring stations. If there are a number of broadcasters firing up signals from the same remote place, the hope is that the Israelis would identify it as media signals, and not Hezbollah rocket electronics, and thus avoid being a target.

Other difficulties: With evacuations intensifying from south Lebanon and more and more bridges and roads getting hit, there is the very real chance our team could get stuck and unable to report and broadcast. It's a risk we did not want to take.

We concluded, for now anyway, this was a good time for Anderson to move out of Beirut and to another part of the region. Much of last night and early this morning were spent sorting out the best place for Anderson to be tonight.

At this writing, honestly, it's still a question mark.

Update, 5:20 ET: Looks like Anderson and team are going to broadcast from Haifa, Israel, tonight with series of packages and guests exploring Hezbollah, the large Christian population in Lebanon, and the most recent news from the frontlines.
Posted By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer: 2:08 PM ET
  21 Comments
It is amazing to me what reporters go through to get the story. May God keep all reporters safe during their coverage.
Posted By Anonymous Kellen, Rockton, Illinois : 2:28 PM ET
I think it's time to get the hell out of there. Set up a camera and leave it there.I think we all are feeling the same way, why risk your life. You showed us what's it like there. The whole Mr Moore blog really creep me out you dont know what they are going to do. Tonight can you show us more behind the scene stuff? Where do you sleep? What do you eat? Do you have a guard watch you when you are sleeping?
I have been to a couple of blogs and everyone is feeling the same. There is something very strange about this story. Thank you to Anderson and his crew be safe and come home.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony Guiliano Allentown PA : 2:28 PM ET
My God you guys need to be careful, I have been watching CNN a lot these last few weeks and have learned a lot about the Middle East from your coverage, but you guys make me so nervous. The coverage is great but not at the risk of you guys. Stay safe and don,t take any chances, your life is more important to us then any story. God bless all of you over there and please be careful.
Sandy
Posted By Anonymous Sandy Belvin Richmond, VA : 2:29 PM ET
David,
Thank you for explaining some of the dangers and difficulties of reporting from a "war zone." Aside from everything else, just the fact that you are American jounalists puts you in danger. I truly don't know how you do it. I agree with you, it was a good time for Anderson and the team to move out and take a break. Thanks again for keeping us in the loop. The best to all of you. See you tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio : 2:30 PM ET
How about covering the civil war in Iraq and it's occupation by US soldiers?
Posted By Anonymous Mark Lander, Pittsburgh PA : 2:32 PM ET
David -

Wherever Anderson reports from tonite, I know that you and your team will make sure that it is a SAFE place.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Chicago, IL : 2:32 PM ET
I'm glad you're considering their safety. Personally I don't think observing reporters standing nearby missile fire gives viewers perspective or insight on the war. Why put reporters and crews unnecessarily at risk? For what? This is not Survivor. It's the news. Detailed reports on the history of the conflict and personal interviews are far more informative. Please continue to watch out for your staff.
Posted By Anonymous Andrea, NY, NY : 2:33 PM ET
Sounds extremely stressful! Stay alert! take care
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Los Angeles CA : 2:33 PM ET
How about Baghdad? or is that war just to boring? or are there more Americans with relatives in Lebanon and Israel than in the US military? Fixation and over-kill is self-limiting resulting in rerun fever. Fish and company stink after three days and I would suggest that news has a shorter shelf life.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 2:36 PM ET
Thanks for the update Mr Doss. The coverage has been stellar, but we don't want anything to be done that would put Anderson & his crew in harms way. We know the best choice for everyone will be made.

Peace
Posted By Anonymous Marcia Warren MI : 2:38 PM ET
I don't feel that I'm "inside" this war, like I did when the U.S. invaded Iraq with embedded reporters. You want to give your viewers variety, but since most of the war footage comes from Arab or Israeli TV anyway, I say you are wise to err on the side of safety. I would like to think that you could notify the Israelis of your travel plans because they don't want to hurt you, but they don't have a good track record of avoiding the innocents. And I'm afraid all hell will break loose when the foreigners are gone which will be soon. Stay low. Stay alive. Thanks for a great job.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 2:41 PM ET
Just want to tell people how does it feel to live in Haifa for this last 13 days:
Imagine you were a 21 years old woman (or man for that mater), a pre-med student, living her life in a beautiful city, a former member of a peace organization called "Seeds of Peace", a person how knows that after all that years of terror, peace don't come easy, yet believes that we are all born equal, and love all the people (except maybe some ex-boyfriends... :) ).
Now one day this person- me, finds out that 2 soldiers were kidnapped (in addition to Gilaad Shavit who is kidnapped for more than a week at the time of Hizbola attack on July 12th), and other 8 soldiers are dead, after no provocation from the Israeli side.
And don't forget that Hizbola terrorists entered to an area inside intarnational borders of israel.
It makes me sad of course but in this 21 years I've seen many pictures of brave boys, how died for this small place- Israel. You can't get used to it, it hearts your sole each and every time, but you learn how to remmember it and in the same time keep going with your life.
A day later,thursday (July 13th) Haifa gets the first rocket "Katyusha", everybody stay very calm.
Sunday morning (July 16th), I'm in the beginning of a test (pre-med last semester, only 4 more exams to go...), suddenly we hear big bombing noises, everybody is going down to the shelter, the exam get cancelled (not a good thing, it was an easy one).
Since then, and it is now saterday, we are prisoners in our own home! Every day, 6-10 alarms, getting down to the shelter, can't finish any mission without a brake of running down there with all of my neighbors.
The one time we did get out of our home after almost 24 hours that nothing hit Haifa, we went to see my grandparents, it is 10 minutes away, but there were 2 alarms until we got there, the order is to stop the vehicle, and find a cover, all we found was a wall of a deserted house, TV reporters wanted to interview us but run away when the first rocket fell about 30 meeters (less than 100 foot away), it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, I was sure my mom it about to get an heart attack she was so pale. But the important thing is that we lived through this!
Today, we went to the shelter 9 times, we haven't got out of out home for a week except the one time mentioned above, even not on my birthday on July 19th... and there is no place to go to in Haifa.
My brother and sister lives in southern cities, were it is quiet and I hope it will stay that way. But, we do not want to escape from this beautiful city of Haifa.
We are a very brave nation, my late grandmother lost her hand and all of her relatives in the holocaust, my grandfather, my father, my brother and my boyfriend took part in the wars we had here!

Israel is going to win this war, I hope it will be with as little casualties as possible for both sides, but we must erase this terror organization called Hizbolla, and this is for the benefit of both Isreal and Lebanon!
So Nassrala, I just do not undrestand way you hate us so much, But there is just one thing I want to tell you:
NASRALLA YOU DO NOT SCARE US!!!
Posted By Anonymous Inbar, Haifa, Israel : 2:48 PM ET
A very interesting explanation of your current logistical and safety considerations. This blog is a becoming more and more interactive: giving the viewers a better idea of what 360 is doing to bring us all the angles, while keeping safety first for Anderson, your other correspondents and crews. Of course, many of us are concerned and curious.

Please keep us posted on where you are going next and what the next angle you will be covering, if possible. As someone who worked in international development for 2 decades, I am particularly concerned about the growing number of displaced persons and the humanitarian crisis developing in Lebanon.

During WWII there were news reels, Viet Nam brought war into our living rooms, embedded repporters got us closer to the action and now daily blogs of what anchors, corredspondents and producers are seeing, hearin, smelling and feeling has taken the viewer one step closer to understanding that war is not just happening to other people somwhere far away. Thanks and congratulations for pushing journalism one step further.
Posted By Anonymous Robin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada : 2:48 PM ET
"It's a risk we did not want to take."
I for one am glad to know that you weigh those risks and are not putting yourselves in unnecessary danger. We know you will cover the story from all the angels. We don't expect you to become martyrs for the sake of sensational journalism. Keep doing the great job you guys do every night. Stay safe. We are praying for you.
Posted By Anonymous Jill, Fair Play, SC : 2:50 PM ET
Okay, I understand the need to bring us the best angle and from the most honest perspective but we can't afford to lose any CNN team member so please keep on carefully weighing the pros and cons.

Adrenaline passes; death is kind of a permanent thing.

Best wishes for all of you and stay safe!
Posted By Anonymous Lily, Vancouver, BC : 2:59 PM ET
Dear David,
Your update reports (like this one) has added an extra dimension to CNN's coverage and reporting. It's fascinating to get a sense of the logistics and the behind-the-scenes work that is key to getting the broadcast and the story on the air.
Bravo to you, and all the "unseen" and "unheard" CNN staffers that help pull together the story we see each night on 360!
Posted By Anonymous Susan, Long Island NY : 3:07 PM ET
I am very conservative, right wing, rarely watch CNN, I am sure everyone knows why, usually way too liberal for my tastes, but for some reason I have always liked AC (I guess it was his Katrina coverage-far superior to anyone else). I accidently stumbled on this blog and now everyday I have to log on and check on Mr. Cooper. God bless you and your crew, remember, not every story or lead is worth following. Safety First!
Posted By Anonymous Terri, Myrtle Beach, SC : 3:08 PM ET
With all the great coverage you've brought us, we all get the idea of what's going on there. Now it's time to pack it up and come home. There's no sense in continuing to keep putting yourselves in harms way, especially since there is no way to know how long this will continue. Thanks for doing such a fantastic job of bringing these stories to us. Stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Kim, Bolingbrook, IL : 3:21 PM ET
Thanks David for explaining what they are going thru. I'm glad you weigh every angle. There's a lot of behind the scenes goings on that the public has no idea of. But I know you won't consider going somewhere where the crew will be in danger. Anderson likes to be where the action is, but not at the cost of his life.
Anderson and crew stay safe, and come home soon. May God be with you and keep you out of harms way through all of this.
Posted By Anonymous Jean, St. Charles, Mo. : 3:26 PM ET
Hey David, Anderson, and team:
Thanks for the info. It is always interesting hearing these things firsthand. I want you guys to know that no matter where 360 is broadcasted from, the coverage will always be outstanding. The important thing is to stay safe and out of harm's reach. As a true AC 360 fan, I will watch the show no matter what. You guys are the best. Please keep safe and God bless.
Stephanie Wood
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie Wood, Charles Town, WV : 3:28 PM ET
Why is it that when the Israelis have dropped leaflets recommending that all civilians evacuate southern Lebanon, you guys want to go in? It seems to me that no matter what region Anderson and the team go to, there will be a story to tell, and there will be people ready to tell their story. Why not go into Northern Lebanon or Syria, where thousands of Lebanese have found refuge? Why not get the story on why the Israelis are indiscriminately destroying the infrastructure (roads, power stations, transmission towers) in a country that has just barely taken a breath from rebuilding. Or how about educating your viewers on the Geneva Convention and general Rules of Engagement. It seems that the Geneva Convention has been marginalized- how else can it be explained why Lebanese hospitals are being destroyed? I certainly haven't heard a story yet that suggested that the Hezbollah were just hanging out on the roadways, or in the radio/tv stations, ergo the need to destroy them. Here's my best suggestion yet; why not get the story on the Syrian point of view on the situation? Because there are such strong "ties" between Syria and Lebanon, all signs indicate that Syrians the world-over are quite nervous right now because they know that one way or another, Syria will be dragged into this conflict.

Either way, there's no reason to walk into the battleground!
Posted By Anonymous Lucy, Toronto, ON : 3:37 PM ET
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