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Katrina: Jeanne Meserve Cries On CNN; “Most Riveting, Heart-Wrenching Phone Report I’ve Ever Heard”

“CNN’s Jeanne Meserve just gave the most riveting, heart-wrenching phone report I’ve ever heard on televsion news,” an viewer wrote in last night.

“Meserve audibly broke into tears in a several minutes-long telephone report with Aaron Brown in NewsNight’s second hour,” another e-mailer explains. “As she slowly and soberly spoke of victims with severed legs, live dogs electrocuting in power lines, people crying for help outside of the reach of rescue boats, and bodies floating in New Orleans, the show became quieter and quieter, until Meserve finally wept. It was devastating to hear.”

Journalists “are sometimes wacky thrill seekers” in hurricanes, Meserve said. “But when you stand in the dark, and you hear people yelling for help and no one can get to them, it’s a totally different experience.”

Brown thanked her repeatedly and said: “She is a very tough, capable, strong reporter, and she met her match on a story tonight.”

After the segment, the director faded to black, and two minutes later Aaron was still contemplating her report.

“It was quite a contrast with the screaming, wind-blown reports from earlier in the day,” an e-mailer said. The transcript doesn’t do it justice…

> Also: Meserve’s cameraman broke his foot around 9am Monday, but continued working all day. “Big words of praise for them and for Mark Biello, who went out and ended up in that water, trying to get the rescue boats over partially submerged railroad tracks. It was a heroic piece of work by CNN employees,” she said.

> Update: 12:08pm: “As a colleague of Jeanne Meserve, I must say that she is a journalist of the highest caliber. Jeanne is in the news business to report the news with sensitivity and compassion, not just the detached egotistical view that many other correspondents today have.”

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