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Foreign Correspondence

Back to Baghdad for TV News Crews

clarissawardForeign network news correspondents continue to make their way into Iraq as terror group ISIS marches toward Baghdad.

ABC’s Terry Moran and NBC’s Richard Engel reported from Erbil for Friday’s evening newscasts, while CBS News had two corespondents in-country, and the only broadcast with a correspondent in Baghdad. Holly Williams is reporting from Erbil while Clarissa Ward is in the Iraqi capital.

“Having covered Iraq for many years during the worst of the sectarian violence, it’s very sad to be back here under such troubling circumstances,” Ward told TVNewser during a break from reporting today. “The Iraqi people are clearly quite terrified of what lies ahead of them and they’ve already suffered so much.” From 2003-2007, Ward was an assignment editor, field producer and later a correspondent for Fox News Channel. In 2007 she joined ABC News as a foreign correspondent before jumping to CBS in 2011.

Ten years in the field has taught Ward that sometimes you have to improvise. Because much of the crew’s gear was confiscated at the airport, the lighting for her live shot on “Evening News” was by way of a flashlight. The low light was also a way to keep a low profile. Ward says the Iraqi capital is on edge at the moment, making the situation perilous for residents and the media.

“Baghdad is an extremely tense and difficult place to operate at the moment and so one has to be extremely cautious.”

News Crews Back to Iraq

Despite Pres. Obama’s pledge to not send U.S. troops into Iraq to quell growing violence there, news networks are beginning to send in additional teams, CNN among them. CNN’s senior international correspondent Arwa Damon, who started her career in Baghdad covering the war in Iraq, has returned to the country as militant group ISIS closes in on Baghdad. She filed this report on the mass exodus from Mosul and surrounding villages:

French Broadcasters Drop Plan to Charge for D-Day +70 Coverage

DDay70French broadcasters have dropped plans to charge international news outlets huge fees for their coverage of ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day. As we reported last week, French president François Hollande gave exclusive rights to coverage of events in France to France Televisions and TF1.

The broadcasters then announced they would charge up to $272,000 for other news outlets, like the AP and Reuters, for usage. The broadcasters backed down Wednesday, saying “Because of the exceptional character of the event and at the request of the president’s office, the signal will be available for free.”

The Past and Present of Tiananmen Square

On the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, the broadcast networks are covering the milestone with a mix of reporting on China past and present.

In a video interview reflecting on his coverage 25 years ago, Tom Brokaw recalled a series of reports he did from a bike to evade Chinese authorities:

On CBS News, Seth Doane detailed the lengths he had to go to to find people in Beijing willing to talk about the 25th anniversary, which he said is one “they do not want remembered.” Doane said he has had interviews “mysteriously canceled” and venues where he was supposed to shoot shut down by police: Read more

Turkish Prime Minister: CNN’s Ivan Watson Is a ‘Flunky,’ an ‘Agent’

WatsonTurkeyReuters reports on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s critical comments about CNN correspondent Ivan Watson, who was roughed up by Turkish security forces during a live report Saturday in Istanbul.

“The international media that came to Istanbul and made exaggerated, provocative calls were licking their paws,” Erdogan said in front of parliament today.

“One of them was that CNN flunky. He was caught red-handed. These people have nothing to do with a free, impartial, independent press. These people are literally executing their duties as agents,” Erdogan is quoted as saying.

After having his report interrupted by security, Watson says he was held for a half hour while security forces checked his identification. He had been reporting on the one year anniversary of the standoff and crackdown in Istanbul’s Gezi park.

“We stand unequivocally by our reporting from Turkey, which has been and continues to be fair, factual and impartial,” a CNN spokesperson tells TVNewser.

BBC News Crew Detained in Egypt, Released After Two Hours

A BBC News crew reporting on Egypt’s presidential election was temporarily detained in Egypt today.

Cairo correspondent Orla Guerin, Cairo producer Wael Hussein, and Middle East producer Kate Benyon-Tinker were initially cornered in a building by local Egyptians accusing them of being spies. Police then detained the crew, along with a woman they were interviewing.

Read more

On CNBC, Putin Talks Snowden: ‘We Gave Him a Refuge, But He Didn’t Tell Us Anything’

PutinCNBCAround 7:30amET, CNBC carried live a Q&A with Geoff Cutmore, who hosts “Squawk Box” on CNBC Europe and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Q&A followed Putin’s address at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

Cutmore asked Putin whether there is a “road back” in his relationship with Pres. Obama “given the level of hostility at least that seems to be played out in the international media.”

From the CNBC transcript, Putin is quoted as saying:

We never did anything to ruin our relationship and despite very rushed rhetoric and opposing approaches to some very topical matters, our cooperation continues… We continue cooperation on the Iranian nuclear programme. I just met the Iranian President in Beijing on the sidelines of an international forum and we spoke about further joint action involving Iran, and taking onboard U.S. position on the Iranian nuclear issue. Syria remains an important issue. And although our views diverge sometimes we still hope we will come to some agreement. Then we have common agenda confronting terrorism…. So we have many points of convergence that of interest to both Russia and U.S. We are not trying to fence ourselves out from the rest of the world. But you can’t force people to like you, as we say in Russia. But we hope that common sense, good sense, and national interest will push our European and American partners to continue cooperation with United States.

Cutmore then asked Putin if Russia’s relationship with the U.S. was “already breaking down over things like the Snowden affair?”

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TV News’ Weekend Coverage of Missing Nigerian Schoolgirls

CNN.Isha Sesay.AbujaBroadcast and cable news networks will continue covering the hundreds of abducted Nigerian schoolgirls this weekend.

ABC News will have international affairs correspondent Hamish Macdonald in Nigeria. CBS News correspondent Debora Patta will continue her reporting from Nigeria’s capitol Abuja. NBC News’ correspondent Stephanie Gosk will also report from there.

NBC also has Ann Curry reporting from the U.S.; Curry asked Secretary of State John Kerry a question via Twitter this morning. “Too early to conclude,” Kerry answered on the likelihood of finding some of the missing girls.

Fox News will interview correspondents from its sister network Sky News as part of its coverage. CNN international correspondent Vladimir Duthiers–whose journey from production assistant to correspondent we recently covered–remains on the story in Nigeria.

And CNN will also have anchor and correspondent Isha Sesay in Nigeria; she recently conducted a heated interview with Nigerian leader Doyin Okupe, pressing him on the government’s response to the girls’ abduction.

“I knew they [Nigeria's government] weren’t happy there was this constant call for information, and I was very aware of the fact he was going to be adversarial,” Sesay told TVNewser in a phone interview this afternoon from Nigeria, adding, “you’ve got to hold him accountable.”

“I beg to differ,” she told us regarding Okupe’s claims that the Nigerian government has issued an aggressive search for the girls from the beginning, suggesting it doesn’t square up with CNN’s reporting on the ground.

Her exchange with the Nigerian leader after the jump.

Read more

From P.A. to International Correspondent, Vladimir Duthiers on ‘Enormous Responsibility’

VD_1Pulling video and research in a bustling New York City newsroom and reporting from Africa while angry Nigerians protest are on different ends of the TV journalism spectrum. For CNN’s Vladimir Duthiers, one thing led to the other, with only a few short years in between.

“I spent 18 years in global finance…but, I had always been an avid consumer of news,” Duthiers told TVNewser in a phone interview from Nigeria this afternoon. “In 2009, I decided to leave the world of finance for journalism.”

At 38, Duthiers started as a production assistant for Christiane Amanpour, quickly rising up the ranks to become an associate producer on “Anderson Cooper 360.” Cooper mentored Duthiers in reporting, helping him become part of a team that won two Emmys for coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Doing his own enterprise reporting paid off: CNN offered Duthiers their Nigeria correspondent job in January, 2012. At the moment, Duthiers says, the job is “absolutely heartbreaking.”

Duthiers is covering the story of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted two weeks ago by terror group Boko Haram. “It makes you determined to come in and do your job harder the next day, but on the other end, it can be depressing.”

This week, Nigerians have protested over a weak government response to the abductions. “You’re reminded of your enormous responsibility as a reporter to make sure people know what these families are going through, even if you don’t have the images and videos,” Duthiers said.

Getting those elements has proved challenging; the kidnapped girls are presumed to be held in the Sambisa Forest, which is under a state of emergency, making things challenging for reporters who have restricted access.

“Social media has taken the reins with this story,” he continued, noting celebrities like Russell Simmons and Mary J. Blige have been tweeting the hashtag #WhereAreOurGirls. “As a social media campaign takes hold, you now have world leaders chiming in… with more of this, maybe things will change.”

Despite Being Held Captive, Vice News’ Simon Ostrovsky Wants to Return to Ukraine

Days after being freed from captivity in Eastern Ukraine, Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky recounted being captured and beaten by Russian insurgents for three days and nights.

“The first night was really terrible,” Ostrovsky told Savannah Guthrie this morning in a “Today” exclusive. “I don’t think they want to kill me, I think they just want to put a scare in me,” he said about his thinking during the beatings.

For the entire three days he was held captive, Ostrovsky didn’t know if his Vice colleagues knew he’d been taken. “I hadn’t been able to communicate to anyone that I’d been detained.” Even after his scare, Ostrovsky is undeterred in his reporting.

“I’d really like to go back to Ukraine…that’s what it’s all about.”

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