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Foreign Correspondence

Steve Capus: Not in Scott Pelley’s ‘DNA’ to Simply Show Up and ‘Have Presence’

PelleyScott Pelley was the only evening news anchor to report from Iraq this week as President Obama announced his plans for action against terror group ISIS. And “CBS Evening News” executive producer Steve Capus says Pelley’s reporting helps separate CBS News from the rest of the pack.

“When I first started talking about taking over this job,” Capus told us Friday, “Scott said to me the commitment to first hand reporting is what stands out at CBS News, and it’s a differentiator for us.”

That reporting found Pelley in Kurdistan, a northern region in Iraq, right in the middle of the Kurdish military’s fight with ISIS. He also interviewed a man who narrowly escaped being murdered by ISIS, escaping from a mass grave (watch after the jump). “When I was hit [by ISIS bullets], I didn’t want to make a sound, because anybody that made a noise, they’d come over and shoot them in the head,” Sayid told Pelley. “When it was all over, Sayid crawled out of the grave,” Pelley said.

“We can see speeches from Washington DC, we can have reporters standing on the lawn of the White House giving us reporting, but the real context is going to come from the people who make the commitment to cover the stories,” Capus continued. “Scott’s a reporter, and that’s what brought him to this job in the first place. It’s not in his DNA to simply show up and ‘quote unquote’ have presence on the scene.”

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What Are Journalists in the U.K. Most Addicted to?

A_small_cup_of_coffeeIf you thought journalists in America drink too much coffee, apparently our colleagues across the Atlantic Ocean are even more caffeinated.

In a survey done by the U.K. press release firm Pressat, which spoke to 10,000 professionals, journalists are wired the most of all professions.

It seems that drinking coffee is a necessity on the job in a wide variety of professions. The highest consumers, sinking over four cups daily, were those with stressful careers: journalists consumed the most, followed closely by police officers and teachers. Could it be that being overstretched or working late pushed the workforce to consume more caffeine?

Other professions found to be coffee addicts were plumbers, nurses, and drivers. Note: I put my cup down while writing this.

Sotloff Spokesperson: Obama Administration Has Made ‘Number of Inaccurate Statements’

SotloffSpeaking with Anderson Cooper last night, a spokesman for the family of beheaded journalist Steven Sotloff claimed the Obama administration hasn’t been relaying accurate information to the American people.

“The administration has made a number of inaccurate statements,” Barak Barfi said.

He countered claims the Obama administration made that Sotloff’s family had been consistently informed of Steven’s status and that Steven and other hostages had been consistently moved by their captors this year.  “We know that the intelligence community and the White House are enmeshed in a larger game of bureaucratic infighting and Jim [Foley] and Steve are pawns in this game.”

“If there continues to be leaks, the Sotloff family will have to speak out to set the record straight,” Barfi concluded. He also said the family now knows Sotloff was sold by “moderate rebels” to ISIS for $50,000 at the Syrian border. President Obama will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry today to discuss his plan of action against ISIS, which he’ll announce in a speech tomorrow.

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Journalist Starts Different Kind of Bucket Challenge to Draw Attention to Gaza

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has taken tvnewsers by storm–or freeze–this summer, and a journalist in Gaza was so inspired by it that he started a different challenge to to draw awareness to the plight of Gazans.

“I have to do something and to send a message all over the world about Gaza,” said journalist Ayman al Aloul, who started the “Rubble Bucket Challenge” on Saturday. Aloul said he first looked for water to use, but its scarcity made it too important to dump over people’s heads. The challenge has gained some social media buzz; the Facebook page has over 3,000 likes and hashtags #dustbucketchallenge and #remainsbucketchallenge are making the rounds.

Remembering James Foley: ‘Your Slaying Will Spark a Revolution Against Terrorists’

CBS’s Clarissa Ward changed her profile picture, Fox News’s Conor Powell remembers him as “a great guy,” while Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, himself imprisoned in Egypt, says James Foley‘s murder “will spark a revolution against terrorists.” These are just some of the ways, those who knew and worked alongside the intrepid journalist are remembering their colleague killed by ISIS militants.

Powell met Foley when he was an embed in Afghanistan. He tells TVNewser: “Jim was well liked by everyone, very easy going and engaging. Like many freelancers he was fearless, but he never appeared reckless. He wasn’t covering wars and conflicts for the rush, it was the story and the people that drove him.”

Desperate Iraqi Yazidis Rush Toward Relief Chopper, With CNN Correspondent on Board

IvanIraqCNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson accompanied an Iraqi Air Force helicopter emergency aid delivery in northern Iraq today. Two Kurdish Peshmerga machine gunners began opening fire on suspected targets as they flew over ISIS positions toward Mt. Sinjar where Iraqi Yazidis remain trapped.

Watson told Wolf Blitzer that as they approached, they could see the Yazidi waving makeshift white flags. Once the aircraft landed, dozens of them rushed toward the chopper. But they weren’t after the diapers, condensed milk, water, shoes and food on board. Instead, they began throwing themselves into the helicopter. In all, about 20 civilians were rescued.

“I’ve been doing this job for more than 10 years, Watson told Blitzer. “I have never seen a situation as desperate as this, as emotionally charged as this, and I’ve never seen a rescue mission as ad hoc and improvised as this.”

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Covering Ebola: ‘It’s So Easy to Stoke the Fear Instead of Talking Plain’

Dr Nancy Snyderman Ebola reportFor correspondents tasked with covering the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, there is a fine line to be walked with each and every report: where is the balance between informing and scaring?

“I always flip-flop in my mind. Ebola: it’s really scary. The fact that it jumped through borders by plane in Nigeria: scary,” NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman tells TVNewser. “But when responsible people say you must be in close proximity to someone and be exposed to vomit, diarrhea, blood [to be infected] — it’s not casual. I want people to know that we don’t make that stuff up. It’s to reassure and to tell the truth. I believe fervently that the public has a right to know. And my job is to tell people the truth. Even on the scary days, tell them the truth.”

“We’re going to keep all eyes on Atlanta right now as long as the two Americans are hospitalized,” she added. “The CDC has been extraordinarily transparent in the calls they’re getting and samples they’re getting. And as a reporter, it’s still all eyes on Africa” (watch her report after the jump).

Ditto CNN International correspondent David McKenzie, who was the first reporter granted access to the main Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone, one of the hardest-hit areas. McKenzie tells TVNewser that getting to the treatment center was crucial to examining the outbreak’s human impact. Read more

Pres. Obama Holds News Conference From U.S./Africa Leaders Summit

ObamaPresident Obama held a news conference this evening as the three-day U.S./Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC drew to a close. The president spoke about progress being made in both the economies and governance of many African nations.

The press event was delayed more than an hour. As the start times of the live editions of the evening newscasts approached, all three broadcast networks streamed the President’s remarks online rather than carrying them on air.

On cable news Fox News preempted “The Five” for an expanded edition of “Special Report with Bret Baier,” which aired from 5-7pmET. CNN and MSNBC covered the newser in its normal programming, anchored by Wolf Blitzer and Ed Schultz, respectively.

The first question went to the Associated Press’ Julie Pace, followed by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, then Margaret Talev of Bloomberg; NBC’s Chris JansingDavid Ohito of The Standard, a Kenyan publication; and the last question went to Jerome Cartillier of Agence France-Presse. The president concluded the nearly :45 minute press briefing at 6:54pmET.

More Cable News Hosts Head to Israel

hannityisraelFox News Channel’s Sean Hannity and CNN’s Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper are the latest cable news anchors to make their way to Israel to cover the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza.

This morning, Hannity was on “Fox & Friends,” reporting on Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. He’ll host “Hannity” for the next three nights from Tel Aviv.

Tapper and Cooper arrived over the weekend. Tapper co-anchored several hours on CNN Sunday and this morning he’s been reporting from near Ashkelon, near the northern Gaza border. Cooper appeared on “New Day” from Jerusalem and will anchor his show tonight from there. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who’s been in Israel since July 10, continued his reporting over the weekend. He returned to Washington, DC this morning.

CNN’s Karl Penhaul Ducks for Cover as Blasts Go Off During Gaza Live Shots

Penhaul Gaza

Close calls for CNN’s Karl Penhaul in the last 24 hours as missile strikes struck close to his Gaza live shots.

This morning, five seconds into his “Early Start” live shot, a blast went off, causing Penhaul to duck and move off camera. He continued to report off camera, reporting the blast was caused by a missile that struck a building about 200 yards away. Last night on “Anderson Cooper 360,” Penhaul ducked another blast, jumping up seconds later to continue reporting about the missile strikes happening around him. Cooper reported the missile hit the Gaza Ministry of Finance.

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