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Posts Tagged ‘Martin Fletcher’

Israel-Gaza: TV Networks Say They Were There Too

WolfTunnel304We’ve been hearing from tvnewsers following our Q&A yesterday with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity who was finishing up a 4-day reporting trip to Israel. During the interview, we asked Hannity what he thought of the media coverage so far of the conflict.

Here’s my take on the media coverage, and I did glance around. I didn’t see — and maybe some of them did it — but I didn’t see reporters in the elaborate tunnels, I didn’t see them at the indoor playground, I didn’t see people go to the war room of the mayor of Sderot, like we did. I think there are too many Hamas representatives put on the air. I don’t think enough emphasis has been put on the lives of the average Israeli. Where’s CBS? Where is all this so-called reporting on NBC and CNN?

Because the headline of our story included the last part of the quote, a couple of those other networks reached out to us to emphatically say, “We were there.” So, in the interest of fairness, here are some of those reports from CNN, CBS News and NBC News:

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The Ticker: Comcast Buys, Rooney Writes, Fletcher Fictionalizes

  • Comcast has bought the 35-story 10 Universal City Plaza building in Los Angeles for approximately $420M, says Deadline. NBCU was already the majority tenant. NBC News’ West Coast operations will soon be moving to new offices on the nearby Universal City lot.

  • Former ABC and CBS News correspondent Brian Rooney has a new website. The Rooney Report is a subscription-based daily report that is a mix of straight news and “editorial wisecracks.” In his site design, he even uses a replica of his father Andy Rooney‘s famous Underwriter typewriter .

  • NBC News correspondent Martin Fletcher‘s latest work of fiction, “Jacob’s Oath” comes out Tuesday. The story is about two Holocaust survivors who meet after World War II, with one vowing revenge against the concentration camp guard who killed his brother.

PBS ‘NewsHour Weekend’ Readies For Launch

This weekend, the “PBS NewsHour” expands to weekends (and to New York City), with the debut of “PBS Newshour Weekend.” Anchored by Hari Sreenivasan, the weekend edition of the iconic evening news program will be shortened to half an hour (yes, a half-hour “NewsHour”), and will be produced by New York City PBS station WNET.

“It is an expression of continuity and change. One of the discussions I had with ["NewsHour" EP Linda Winslow] early on was about that. Are we looking for continuity or change?,” the weekend program’s executive producer Marc Rosenwasser says, sitting in a conference room at the WNET offices in midtown Manhattan. ”The answer we came up with was both.”

“The line we have to walk is between upholding the very rich traditions of the ‘NewsHour,’ which we respect tremendously and the nation respects tremendously as this great, valuable brand that has an almost unique place contextualizing and analyzing the news,” he added. “At the same time, moving forward as many weekend shows at all the networks work, as kind of a laboratory too.”

For the new team in New York and the “NewsHour” team in DC, the challenge is keeping the spirit of the weekday program, while simultaneously expanding its boundaries.

“It is still pretty rare to have 40-year long brands that have lasted,” Sreenivasan says. “Sure, we could use a few million more dollars, but we have somehow managed to survive in the marketplace, even with all the commercial competition, even with the current landscape.”

That isn’t to say there haven’t been hiccups along the way.

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In War Reporting Today ‘Journalists Have Become Targets’

In his new novel, Martin Fletcher addresses what he calls the “universal question: How do you get on with the rest of your life in the face of horrific tragedy?”

It’s a topic the former NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief explored frequently during his nearly-four decade career with the network, reporting from the globe’s most dangerous hot spots, often meeting interviewees “on the worst day of their lives.”

Fletcher’s fourth book, and second novel, Jacob’s Oath, is due out this fall.  He says readers will “come away full of hope, and belief in the future.” It’s what has stayed with him after a lifetime of covering wars, famine, and other hardships.

Fletcher left full-time reporting nearly four years ago, staying with NBC on a freelance basis. These days he’s less focused on covering danger zones, feeling like he’s used up too many of his nine lives.  ”For how long can you be lucky?”

The Richard Engels of the world, he says, are facing a more complicated Middle East than ever before. ”So many things going on at the same time…it looks like we’re at the beginning of a very long road,” Fletcher says during a phone interview with TVNewser from Israel.

“It’s much more dangerous today than it used to be. And the reason is that journalists have become targets.”

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Broadcasters Gear Up For Gaza Coverage

With the situation in Gaza continuing to escalate, the broadcast news divisions are making sure their people are in the region. Additional changes may be made, but for now here is the latest on the assignments in Gaza, Israel and beyond.

ABC News has Christiane Amanpour in Jerusalem, joined by Lama Hasan. Matt Gutman is reporting for ABC from Tel Aviv, while Alexander Marquardt reports from Gaza.

NBC News has Ayman Mohyeldin and Richard Engel in Gaza, Stephanie Gosk and Martin Fletcher in Tel Aviv, Jim Maceda in Cairo, Egypt and Ali Rouzi in Tehran, Iran.

CBS News has Clarissa Ward reporting from Cairo, Charlie D’Agata reporting from Gaza and Allen Pizzey reporting from Israel.

Fox News has Jerusalem correspondents Leland Vittert and David Lee Miller reporting from southwestern Israel, near the Gaza border.

Rising Tension in Middle East is Lead Story in U.S.

The escalating violence between the Israeli military and Hamas militants was the lead on “NBC Nightly News” and “ABC World News” tonight and has been in heavy rotation on the cable news channels today. Among those covering the story veteran NBC news correspondent Martin Fletcher, ABC’s Alex Marquardt and Fox News correspondent Leland Vittert. Earlier today I asked Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes about international news coverage and the importance of having reporters on the ground rather than just talking heads in the studio:

“Everybody in the whole goddamn world is a pundit,” Ailes said. “My doorman thinks he should be running the 101st Airborne Division. It’s good to get people from various Administrations who’ve had some experience. But sometimes you’ve just got to have a reporter out there.”

Ailes talked about watching Vittert’s reports last night (video here). “I’m watching and he’s saying, ‘We’re standing here and a bomb hit this building and we’re over here…’ and I’m thinking, “Oh Christ I’m going to get this kid killed.” And I was thinking should I call [Steve] Harrigan in Florida and put him in. Because he’s an old combat reporter. I’d been worrying about that kid all night.”

“You need analysis, you need all that stuff. One doesn’t necessarily replace the other. Journalism is journalism. Somebody’s got to see it and say it.”

NBC News Planning Middle East Focused Reportage Next Week

 NBC News is planning substantial coverage focusing on the increasingly complicated situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan on Sunday and Monday.

Ann Curry will be reporting from the Syria/Turkey border, while Lester Holt and Richard Engel report from Afghanistan, as the U.S. military presence extends into its 12th year there.

In addition, regular Egypt-based correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin and Tehran, Iran-based correspondent Ali Rouzi will contribute  while  former NBC Tel Aviv-based correspondent Martin Fletcher will be returning to the city to report.

NBC’s George Lewis Retires, Sort Of

On “Nighly News” last night, Brian Williams bid farewell to George Lewis, after 42 years with NBC News, most of it reporting from the Los Angeles bureau. Over on the “Nightly News” website, Lewis writes you’ll see him again soon enough: “Since I can’t completely hang up my spurs, I’ll return in six months as a part-timer,” he writes.

Lewis follows in the footsteps of not-so-retired NBC News Middle East correspondent Martin Fletcher.

Martin Fletcher: ‘There’s Nothing Written That You Have to Have One Job Your Whole Life’

Martin Fletcher, journalist-author.

Or is it author-journalist?

“I love both” roles, Fletcher tells TVNewser via phone from his home in Israel.

It’s been nearly two years since Fletcher stepped down from his full-time role as NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief and correspondent.  He’s had more time ever since to write books, and he also kept alive his ties to NBC when he subsequently returned to the network to report on a freelance basis.

“There’s nothing written that you have to have one job your whole life,” Fletcher reflects. “I think I made the transition at the right time of life, and what I am doing now is the right thing for this phase of my life.”

It’s a busy phase for sure. In addition to researching and writing, Fletcher does some public speaking and teaching. And he’ll be back on a book tour soon with the release tomorrow of his third book — and first novel — The List.

“It’s about, in a sense, my family story,” says Fletcher, “but it’s totally fictionalized because my parents never spoke about their story.”

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Martin Fletcher Wins Literary Award

“This took me completely by surprise,” NBC News special correspondent Martin Fletcher tells TVNewser.

Martin has been named a 2010 National Jewish Book Award winner for writing Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation.

“It must have been a poor year for books,” Fletcher jokes.  “But I’m thrilled. I left NBC mostly to follow my dream and write books, at a time when publishing is even in more trouble than broadcasting, so it’s reassuring to receive such a boost.”

Fletcher, a former Tel Aviv bureau chief, began reporting again for the network this past July after leaving NBC in December of 2009 and focusing on his career as an author. Fletcher’s third book, The List – a novel set in London in 1945 – is due out this fall.

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