Friday, September 15, 2006
Young students on America's young warriors
Anderson and I are jazzed about a terrific new project we are debuting in the 11 p.m. hour tonight. We're building the show around three short documentaries shot and produced by students from U.C. Berkeley's graduate school of journalism.

These students -- ages 25-35 -- fanned out across the world in groups of two to produce reports providing a sense of what life is like for American soldiers. What we've done is take their material (though we did not edit it other than to shorten it to fit our format) and weave in Anderson's interviews with the grad students to get a fresh feel for who really is fighting overseas for America.

This is not an hour about casualty stats. But instead, you will really get to know some of the young people serving our country aboard the supply ship USS Tortuga and at a military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and at a number of bases in the Middle East. The students' work and perspectives are thoroughly professional and yet they are slightly rougher, a little less polished and especially candid. We were drawn to the material as soon as we saw it.

We've streamed the pieces online, so check them through the links below and let us know what you think. And tune in tonight at 11 p.m. to experience these pieces on the big screen and watch as Anderson interviews the students about their work.

(Watch a piece on winning hearts and minds -- 6:11)
(Watch a short film on a rock band's tour of military bases -- 9:49)
(Watch a mini-doc about life on a Navy ship -- 10:28)
Posted By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer: 1:20 PM ET
OK Guys... but if you will keep on coming up with all this interesting stuff, when are we ever going to get a life and go out and dine and wine!

It is Friday..For God's sake and it seems like I'm stuck at home again!
Posted By Anonymous Jane, Toronto : 1:44 PM ET
It is interesting that Berkly of all colleges would do a study about our military. I am a vietnam vet and well remember that college was so ugly to us when we returned from the war. What is their motive for studing this one?
Posted By Anonymous Leonard Bynum, Huntsville, AL : 1:54 PM ET
Thank you for reaching out and taking a chance on proiding us additional points of view regarding our troops. Hopefully the reporting will be candid and informative.
Posted By Anonymous Carol Alexandria, VA : 2:08 PM ET
Hi David-
Wow! How cool! I can understand why you and Anderson are jazzed about this. What a refreshing and interesting perspective from students. I will have to record it. Its Friday night live for me! You all have such creative ideas. I can't wait to watch!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 2:10 PM ET
David, Again..360 stands above the rest. I found the three videos interesting and hope it sparks interest in what our military truly is about. As a Navy brat I often wondered if outside people really understand what our parents and friends go through. It isn't always about fighting. The military covers many needs around the world. Thanks for your amazing coverage again. For my opinion, favorite was the Horn of Africa.
Posted By Anonymous Shelly, LA : 2:16 PM ET
I like the idea...hope it will be all keep the interest for newshours alive....most of the medias have gone crazy to protect the Govt.

Posted By Anonymous Rupa , Boston ,MA : 2:20 PM ET
Hey David, Cool!! My grandchildren are high school and college students and I love listening to their perspective on the world and especially the government. These kids are so refreshing. I am looking forward to the program tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn MI : 2:36 PM ET
These 3 clips were facinating. I am grateful for the work of our troops and the sacrifices they are making every day. I am embarrassed to admit that I never knew our US troops were in Djibouti, so I'm glad that these students took the time to produce these reports. I'm impressed with their work--you guys had better watch your backs because they may have your jobs some day! I can't wait to see the show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Minneapolis, Minnesota : 3:09 PM ET
The clips are a very good idea! Thanks for sharing a peek at the day-to-day life of the military. It's good to know that after all the horrors they see, they still have their humanity and sense of humor.

Kudos to the young journalists for their insight and willingness to bring these stories to CNN.
Posted By Anonymous Deb, Richmond VA : 3:41 PM ET
360 and company, it's refreshing to see such a story. I am former military and trying to explain to my family what I did was often frustrating. It was like speaking Greek to them. Hopefully family and friends alike will get an idea what it is their loved ones are doing in the service. Great job to all of the Berkely students.
Posted By Anonymous Melina - Mesa, AZ : 3:44 PM ET
Hey David, this is sounding really great for AC360 show. The videos were quite amazing, kind of gives you new insight into the military and also the need for education and help especially in the Horn of Africa. I was so shocked to hear the young girl say she loved Osama bin Laden, but how would she know any difference. Promising journalism for these young grads.
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 3:49 PM ET
Dear David,

Thank you for allowing us to preview these three wonderful documentaries. They are definitely more intimate and less guarded, which, in some ways makes them more cutting-edge, than what is usually seen on news programs. These films force us to see our military personnel as individuals rather than faceless groups. I found "Shipping Out, Missing Home" particularly poignant. The scene of Noelle sitting beside her bunk talking about her husband was especially touching. If the members of our government would watch pieces like these maybe they would be less careless with the decisions they make. The future of journalism is very bright indeed if these films are examples of what we can expect to see in future news broadcasts.

You have added freshness and excitement to the "360" blog by making it more "interactive" for the viewers. I feel as though my comments and opinions are not only desired, but also respected, thank you. I look forward to tonight's program.

Jo Ann Matese
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 5:30 PM ET
I was expecting to watch a little of the pieces and then turn them off. I must admit, they all kept my nterest. The style of reporting reminds me of Anderson's way of reporting. Better look out Anderson! Just kidding!
Posted By Anonymous Barb Kozlowski, Phoenix : 7:03 PM ET
I watched and enjoyed every minute of these videos! It's great to see a different angle from the viewpoint of these students. I also liked the aspect of getting an opportunity to know some of the people assigned to these areas of the world! Thanks also for jazzing up the blog tonight!
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 8:27 PM ET

This is a great show but I must tell you my stomach is in knots just seeing the young age of these soldiers and what they are giving up to serve and protect our country. I pray that each of them returns home unharmed. Every one of them has an interesting story to tell..aka life... and a family and friends that love them. Thanks for giving us this glimpse into their lives.
Posted By Anonymous Marsh Laurel, MD : 11:52 PM ET
Hi David,
I just watched the ac360 special with the UC Berkeley students. Excellent work by all..We all need to appreciate the men and women of the military for who they are and what a priceless service they give..Good job
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 12:38 AM ET
These were so excellent, I suggest you go to the same source for other stories. How about having J-students filing pieces on the midterm elections? Local effects of global warming? Followups on Katrina 'refugees'?

Farm team!
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:35 AM ET
Since I started watching the program about two years ago, there have been many stories/special programs that I have really enjoyed. I can say, for the first time, that this special edition of 360 is my favorite.

Growing up as the daughter of a US Military Servicemember, I already know about the many sacrifices that these soldiers make for our country.

Thank you for airing these mini-documentaries today. The students did a great job of showing how our military not only defends the freedoms we often take for granted, but also how these soldiers are also ambassadors of goodwill to other countries.
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve M, El Paso, TX : 4:58 AM ET
I really enjoyed this program,Please
continue to do news shows that do
not follow the norm.Thanks.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle,Chesapeake,Va. : 12:42 PM ET
What an awesome program tonight. These students were able to capture some wonderful insite into the men and women who help to protect and serve our country.

I hope that you continue to find inspiring reporters to tell the life stories of the people who give so much for us and their country.

Awesome again, Anderson!!!
Posted By Anonymous Robert Winona, Ms : 1:23 PM ET
As a mom of a brand new sailor (he graduated from basic training September 8th) I truly enjoyed seeing what it will be like for him once he finishes his "A" school and goes out to sea. Our young people are amazing.

Thank you to the new filmmakers. Good job!!
Posted By Anonymous Bonnie - St. Louis, MO : 1:59 PM ET
I applaud you guys for giving up an hour of airtime for these great little films. I watched and thought they were all very well-done and it did give great insight on how young a lot of these soldiers fighting for us are and also how dedicated they are to their jobs, no matter how menial or degrading the work might be considered. The directors of the second film were spot-on with their assessment that too many of us think that young people are lazy and don't care about the world around them. These films showed otherwise. Thanks for sharing them with us.
Posted By Anonymous Allison, Atlanta, GA : 11:27 AM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

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