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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for July 17, 2000

Aired July 17, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And welcome to a brand new week of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott. Lots in store today, and we start with a look at the rundown.

In today's top story, the first anniversary of John Kennedy Jr.'s death: how his legacy is affecting children on New York's lower east side.


JENNIFER, ANDREW GLOVER PROGRAM: If I didn't have this center, I would be in jail. And if I would have -- I just probably, maybe not even be alive right now, I don't know.


WALCOTT: Then, in our "Environment Desk," some tips on conserving water.


GRETCHEN GIGLEY, SOUTHFACE ENERGY INSTITUTE: A typical toilet will use four gallons of water per flush. A water-saving toilet will use less than two.


WALCOTT: From water in the home to water along the coast, "Worldview" looks at a controversial plan for offshore oil rigs in California.


DAVID BROWN, UNDERSEA FILMMAKER: I am always in awe of nature's ability to take our stuff, our mess, and create something beautiful from it.


WALCOTT: Then, in "Chronicle," the first installment of "Blues Monday." Today, a history of the genre. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFUL NEAL, BLUES ARTIST: It's the feeling you get, because if I had to stay in the blues for the money, I'd have quit a long time ago.


WALCOTT: One year ago, the world watched in disbelief as they learned the plane carrying John Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren Bessette had disappeared. It took search crews four days to find the wreckage. All three lost their lives in the tragedy. A year later, family and friends say they planned no public remembrances.

Questions surrounding the crash were answered recently in a report released by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. In it, federal crash investigators said Kennedy lost control of the single-engine plane after he became disoriented while flying at night over the ocean.

Kennedy's death still grieves many people. Many wonder where life would have taken the son of the late President John F. Kennedy. But the charitable and community groups he worked with are keeping his memory alive. We begin our coverage with Brian Palmer.


BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York's lower east side is a long way from Camelot.

JENNIFER, ANDREW GLOVER PROGRAM: If I didn't have this center, I would be in jail. And if I would have -- I just probably, maybe not even be alive right now, I don't know.

PALMER: Troubled kids at the Andrew Glover Youth Center benefit every day from the legacy of John F. Kennedy Jr.

KEITH, ANDREW GLOVER PROGRAM: He gave us, like, not a home away from home but, like, a home away from the street.

PALMER: While many focused on his privilege and fame, Kennedy quietly sought out those who offer people a hand...

GERARD GRILLO, TRAVEL TRAINER: Cars could come here, right? You just walk by, they might not see you.

PALMER: ... targeting millions of dollars to grassroots organizations and individuals who make a difference, like Gerard Grillo, who trains special ed students how to safely navigate the city.

GRILLO: In an age where so much media coverage and so much money goes to glitz and glamour, people need to refocus and see what's really important out there.

PALMER: And he encouraged others to contribute. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, May 1999)

JOHN F. KENNEDY JR.: No doubt, many of you know what it means when I say that service is its own reward, and I hope that you continue to serve.


PALMER: His main tool for giving, the Robin Hood Foundation. It's still giving, $12 million last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (reading): "Oh, the wonderful things Mr. Brown can do... "

PALMER: And the fund established in memory of his spouse, Carolyn, supports kids in crisis.

These handprints on the wall represent more than 300 abused or disadvantaged children who, last year, passed through this temporary shelter.

SHARI SHAPIRO, DIRECTOR, KIDS IN CRISIS: We want to make sure that we can be there for any child in need, and so things like the Carolyn Fund enables us to do that.

PALMER: And from those who have been given a chance.

JENNIFER: A real big thank you and appreciation to him.

PALMER: John Kennedy Jr.'s dream being realized every day.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.


WALCOTT: John F. Kennedy Jr. was a man of many dreams. The Robin Hood Foundation was just one of them. In 1995, Kennedy embarked on a new dream, creating a political magazine that catered to his generation, one that mixed politics with pop culture. He named the magazine after George Washington, America's first president. "George," he said, would put people on a first-name basis with politics. After his death, many predicted his magazine would be the next casualty.

But as Susan Lisovicz reports, even though critical challenges remain, "George" lives.


SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The best-selling issue of "George" magazine was the one that commemorated its founder`s death.


JOHN F. KENNEDY JR.: Ladies and gentlemen, meet "George."


LISOVICZ: And without the cache of John F. Kennedy Jr., many observers said there wouldn`t be many more to follow. But an extraordinary thing has happen to "George" in the difficult year since Kennedy`s fatal plane crash. "George" not only lives, but in some critical measures it`s flourished.

"George"'s circulation has jumped from 400,000 at the end of 1999 to 500,000 this year. Under its new editor in chief, industry veteran Frank Lolly, edgier stories, such as the three additional survivors in the Elian Gonzalez shipwreck, have received critical praise and priceless buzz.

But the number of ad pages, the life blood of any magazine, has steadily dropped, plunging 75 percent in the last year.

MARTIN WALKER, WALKER COMMUNICATIONS: Last year when John died, he died just at the time when the advertising decisions were being made for this year. And everything was in such a state of flux -- is the magazine going to continue? what are they going to do with the magazine? and what have you -- that advertising agencies shied away from making any commitments to it because they didn`t know what was going to happen.

LISOVICZ: Parent company Hechette-Filipacchi is waiting to see what happens this fall when ad decisions for 2001 are made.

It's also a critical time for subscriptions.

STEVEN COHN, MEDIA INDUSTRIAL NEWSLETTER: People bought the magazine in droves last fall and this gave the folks at Hachette- Filipacchi Magazines, you know, the inspiration, hey, we can continue it. Maybe this can succeed. And this is really the year to prove it.

LISOVICZ: Meanwhile, competition in the magazine industry is nothing short of tenacious.

(on camera): "George"'s mission to marry politics and pop culture is close in spirit to that of "Vanity Fair," which has twice the circulation and 18 times the number of ad pages.

(voice-over): But "George" has an opportunity to narrow the gap. Political interest typically increases prior to a presidential election.

Susan Lisovicz, CNN Financial News, New York.


WALCOTT: Water is one of our most precious resources, and it's one we need to conserve. Maybe you know that different parts of the world are experiencing drought. And while people can't make it rain, they can try to make the most of water they do have. That's important because, per capita, water consumption is rising twice as fast as world population. Humanity now uses half of the available surface fresh water on Earth. At least 300 million people live in regions that already have severe water shortages. By 2025, that number could be 3 billion.

Here in Atlanta, Georgia, it's been a hot a dry summer. We're experiencing a drought so we're under restrictions that limit outside watering.

But there are many ways you can help save water all year long no matter where you live. Brian Cabell tells us how.


BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Should you shower or take a bath? Experts say showers generally require less water. The toilet: Almost 27 percent of all water used inside a home goes down the toilet, and that, experts say, is where consumers can conserve the most.

GIGLEY: A typical toilet will use four gallons of water per flush. A water-saving toilet will use less than two.

CABELL: No money for a new toilet? Stick a brick in the tank and that'll do the trick.

In the kitchen, a dishwasher usually requires less water than hand-washing in the sink. The laundry room poses another decision.

GIGLEY: It's better to purchase a front-loading washing machine if you're in the market for a new machine.

CABELL: Two reasons: there's no agitator in a front-loader, which means more room for clothes, and a front-loader generally doesn't fill and release water as much as a top-loader.

Outside, some simple but effective steps to conserve: cut down on your lawn. It soaks up too much water. Also, cut it high. That keeps the moisture in. Mulch three inches deep. That retains moisture. And try capturing water from your rain gutters in barrels like these. It's simple and cheap.

GIGLEY: For a 1,500-square-foot roof that you're catching water from, in a one-inch rain, you can catch about 700 gallons of water.

CABELL: A final suggestion from the experts: hold off on planting, if possible, until fall. A new plant in a summer drought may need water every day and still may not survive.

Brian Cabell, CNN, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, we head to the bottom of the sea, so get set to get wet. At least we hope we whet your interest for things environmental. We'll take you to St. Lucia for a deep-water dive. And in the U.S., we'll focus on an unusual way to build reefs. ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: "Worldview" heads to the coast of California in the U.S. for a look at a controversial environmental program. Many oil rigs are situated off the coast. The drilling structures can be an eyesore, but can often become attractions for sea life as well. Some have suggested leaving parts of the rigs in place after they are decommissioned to become habitats for sea life.

Only the Gulf of Mexico has an official Rigs to Reefs program, but other parts of the world are looking into it, including areas of Southeast Asia.

Jim Hill looks at reef rumblings in California.


JIM HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Offshore oil rigs have dotted the California coast for decades, a blend of energy source and eyesore. But as the platforms drilled for crude, something beautiful was happening on the steel framework that anchored them. With undersea filmmaker David Brown, we photographed columns encrusted with colorful sea anemones, starfish and other invertebrates. Fish like calico bass played hide-and-seek among the pilings.

BROWN: I am always in awe of nature's ability to take our stuff, our mess, and create something beautiful from it. All those hard edges get softened and all that drabness turned into color and life.

HILL: Much the same way man-made buoys attract sea lions or barnacles form blotches on the skin of migrating whales, so much sea life has found a home on underwater oil rigs some people want them kept in place when the wells run dry.

GEORGE STEINBACH, CHEVRON OIL: It's clear that the removal of the structures would destroy that marine habitat. So there's significant environmental benefit from leaving the structures in place.

HILL: One plan would allow oil firms to leave the underwater portions of the rigs intact. Part of the money they save in removal costs would go into a coastal conservation fund.

(on camera): People on the coast have lived within sight of the oil platforms for more than 30 years, and at times the relationship has been about as rough as a stormy day at sea.

(voice-over): In 1969, for example, Platform A spilled nearly 4 million gallons of oil. At the time, it was the biggest U.S. oil spill in history and helped launch the modern environmental movement.

SUSAN ROSE, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SUPERVISORY: We don't look kindly to oil off our coast, and it certainly has done a lot of damage to us over the years. We'd like those rigs removed.

HILL: But anglers point out one rig became a favorite fishing hole, attracting far more species than the surrounding areas of sand and mud. MERIT MCCREA, FISHERMAN: It was phenomenal. It was one of the best bass areas that we've had around there.

HILL: Oil companies say they've had the same experience with about 30 rigs converted to reefs offshore from Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

But Santa Barbara environmentalists say turning rigs into reefs needs more study.

LINDA KROP, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE CENTER: There's no evidence that they provide habitat. You may see fish out there, but you see sea gulls at a landfill. You know, you see birds on telephone poles.

HILL: California lawmakers are expected to decide this year if the rigs should be converted to reefs or removed altogether like manmade rubbish.

Jim Hill, CNN, Santa Barbara, California.


RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: More on underwater sea life as we head to St. Lucia, one of the Winward Islands in the West Indies. St. Lucia is a lush, volcanic island. Tall mountains rise abruptly from its blue waters.

Christopher Columbus is said to have arrived there in 1502, but early colonization attempts failed because of hostile Carob Indians. In the last 1600s, the French were able to maintain a successful settlement, but the British gained control in 1803. The island nation became self-governing in 1967. And in 1979, it gained its independence. English is the official language.

The island exports lots of bananas, coconuts, citrus fruits and sugar, but tourism is also an important industry. Vacationers enjoy the beautiful beaches and the teaming tropical waters. Today, we take you on a journey beneath those waters. If you've never been diving, you'll get a glimpse of what it's like.

Join us on this tranquil trip. Jane Dutton (ph) is our guide.


JANE DUTTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scuba St. Lucia is a dive school which has been on the islands teaching novices and the more experienced for 20 years. Scuba diving on holiday has to be treated with care. You mustn't dive at least 24 hours before traveling by air, and you must take a refresher lesson if you haven't dived for a long time.

(on camera): Let's refresh my memory.

PONTI FRANCES, DIVE INSTRUCTOR: OK, let's go back again: This is a question and answer. It says, are you OK? let's go down, let's go up, something is wrong, my air is not working, I need to glide back up to...

(voice-over): I'm heading out to the reef not far from the village of Sufria (ph) with my instructor, Ponti Frances,


DUTTON (on camera): Well, what sort of fish are we going to see?

FRANCES: There's lots of scopton (ph) fish. The occasional seahorses can be found out there. If I do see it, I'll be more than happy to point it out -- crow fish, lots of schools of ambijacks (ph) and sonnerday (ph). Sometimes we come across a turtle. So let's our eyes open and see what we can find.

DUTTON (voice-over): Here, all the divers are very experienced so you're in good hands.

Scuba diving is different in every part of the world, but here the corals and diversity of fish are a marvel to see. The silence is awesome and creates an underwater wonderland with bright colors and unexpected surprises. With your eyes constantly amazed by all that surrounds you, you want the dive to last forever. But sadly, one finally comes up for air to tell your friends about all that you've seen.

(on camera): Thousands of different types of fish.

FRANCES: It was beautiful, huh?

DUTTON: Completely exhilarating.

FRANCES: I really enjoyed it myself. A very good dive. This water is very nice water, very colorful, beautiful, lots to see.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.

Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segments that fit your lesson plan. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities, and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day, find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming "Desk" segments. It's all at this Web address, where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy, it's free, it's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops, and neither does learning.

WALCOTT: In "Chronicle," "Blues Monday." It's much more than a style of music. The genre originated among African-Americans in the southern United States.

Though the blues originally spoke to the hardships black people faced, it also provides a unique view into the human experience, communicating truth about daily hardships, like poverty, racism or the loss of a loved one, while providing a little escapism for people in desperate need of some fun.

For those of you unfamiliar with the blues, here's a primer.


NEAL: It's the feeling you get, because if I had stayed in the blues for the money, I would have quit a long time ago. But it's a special feeling, and it just makes you feel good to sing the blues.

MIKE REEVES, BLUES PROMOTER: It's called blues but it talks about the good times, too. It talks about having fun and it talks about good food and it talks about good friends and it talks about lost love, it talks about everything. It's just a style of music that talks about every part of your life.

SHEMEKIA COPELAND, BLUES SINGER: Nobody wants to hear anybody out there singing for an extra buck. They want to hear you sing because you need to sing, because if you weren't singing you'd be sick.

JOHN SINCLAIR, BLUES HISTORIAN: The blues are about things that happened to people and to specific people, black people in conditions of extreme duress. So the emotion that's contained in these works of personal expressionists is very powerful.

WALCOTT (voice-over): The blues originated in a rural part of the American South called the Mississippi Delta, a vast, flat world famous for its cotton fields. Mile for mile, acre for acre, the delta has produced more blues musicians than any other part of the world, the vast majority of them African Americans, descendants of slaves.

After emancipation, many blacks were still tied to the cotton fields as sharecroppers working from sunup to sundown for little or no pay, a life that inspired them to sing spirituals and compose gritty anthems about the hopelessness of their lives.

JOHNNIE BILLINGTON, BLUES TEACHER: And everybody's trying to figure, well, what was it that kept those peoples alive? What kept them from doing this? What kept them from jumping in the river or killing themselves? It was the music.

WALCOTT: The blues is a birthright of the Mississippi Delta, but music historians say it's a fragmented legacy.

SINCLAIR: The history of the blues is shrouded in obscurity. There's no recordings or other physical evidence of what the music sounded like when it was developing in the last days of the 19th century. They didn't start recording blues until 1920. Blues, they say, is the form of personal expression that really began to develop after emancipation because, really, it was only then that people of African descent in the South were allowed to have an individual life.

WALCOTT: Amateur and professional musicians helped spread the blues from the juke joints of the South to nightclubs in northern cities like Chicago, to stages throughout the world. Along the way, the music evolved from an acoustic, foot-stomping country style to a sleek, electrified city sound. Key blues artists started to emerge. Names like Muddy Waters, Bessie Smith, Etta James, and B.B. King became synonymous with the genre. And the blues spawned other forms of music, influencing everything from rock and roll to jazz to rhythm and blues.

SINCLAIR: And coming out of that reaction, you had the beginnings of hip-hop and rap music, which, like the blues, is deeply rooted in these communities, highly oppressed communities of African- American people. It uplifts and helps the people who are also trapped in that existence deal with their lives. It's popular -- people listen to it to feel better.

BRYAN BARRY, FAT POSSUM RECORDS: All music comes from the blues. Everything -- every rock beat wouldn't be there, you know, if that original blues stomp hadn't started. It's the root of all music. You know, jazz and blues is the only art form that America can call its own.

WALCOTT: Some people call the blues the soul of America, and the music is experiencing a resurgence in popularity around the world. Modern artists have added to the variation of the sounds, but purists know that, at its core, the blues has maintained one central theme: It's about people wanting to be somewhere else but making the best of where they are.

SINCLAIR: From the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis where the delta begins, down Highway 61 through Tunica and into Clarksdale, Mississippi, this is where the music was born and bred, in miles and miles of cotton fields, one-room shacks, dirt roads stretching across the countryside, standing at the crossroads where 49 meets 61, or waiting in the dark for the train to make it down the track and jump on board because anywhere else is better than this place.


WALCOTT: Lot of history there.

We'll see you back here tomorrow. Have a good day.



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