In his time at CBS, Plesser worked as a producer on “60 Minutes” and “Evening News.” Most recently, he has been a producer for CBS News foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward, who frequently reports from the same places Engel and his team travel. In 2011, he was the first Western journalist to report from Tripoli during the uprising in Libya.
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“I was the last person to accept my award, and by the time it came around I was feeling pretty humbled because I was just awestruck but what incredibly compelling and diverse reports had been honored,” Ward told TVNewser. “I felt humbled and tremendously honored and very excited.”
Ward said she was particularly proud to accept the award from ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, who she called “a heroine and a role model.”
Ward and producer Ben Plesser were the first American journalists to report live from Syria with the rebels. In the past year, she has traveled to the war-torn country six times for reports that have aired on “CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes.” Ward called reporting from Syria “extremely challenging,” noting the fractured nature of the conflict.
“In conventional warfare you might embed with an army, but this is a completely different kettle of fish,” she said. “You’re embedding with rebel forces and each group has its own ways and its own rules and its own methods.”
Because of this, Ward said she anticipates seeing less reporting from Syria this year.
“I think you’ll see fewer journalists spending time with the rebels, partially because of safety concerns, which are very legitimate,” Ward said. “I really want to go in only when I feel like I have a story that furthers the bigger picture.”
“Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer did something on his show today that he admits he doesn’t do often: trumpet the work of one of his CBS News colleagues. “We don’t spend a lot of time here bragging about our work and our reporters,” said Schieffer, adding, “We don’t even use the word exclusive very much.” Schieffer then closed his show talking with foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward who, along with her producer Ben Plesser, snuck into and back out of Syria last week, reporting on the deteriorating situation there.
A year ago this month, Plesser was the first Western journalist to report out of Libya at the start of the civil war there.
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour is the latest Western journalist to make it in to the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Amanpour will host “This Week” from the city tomorrow. Tonight on “World News” she reported by videophone, “We came into the city. It’s calm. The roads were clear. We’ve heard tiny amounts of sporadic shooting.”
As Western TV networks have made their way into Libya this week, from either the Eastern or Western borders, the Gadhafi stronghold of Tripoli has been particularly challenging to get into. This morning, CBS News producer Ben Plesser became the first Western journalist to report from the city.
“The city is pretty much abandoned,” Plesser told “The Early Show” co-anchor Erica Hill by phone. “There are no pedestrians on the streets. There is very thin traffic on the road.”
For security reasons, CBS won’t reveal how Plesser got into the city. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reported last night that the Gadhafi government “extended a strange and remarkable offer” to foreign journalists to take them around the capital to see conditions. CBS News would not say whether they took up that offer.
“The scene at the airport was, to say the least, chaotic,” Plesser reported. “There are thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of people packed in the terminals. Mostly foreign workers – they’re Egyptian, they’re Turk, some from south east Asia. Every once and a while, you see a western face. They are living on the floor wrapped in dirty blankets that have been there for days and they’re the lucky ones with a roof over their heads,” he reported.”
London-based Plesser has been with CBS News for about 10 years.