bbchavana_2-25.jpgTonight, Matt Frei will anchor “BBC World News America” from Cuba, a rare opportunity for an American based-newscast. TVNewser spoke with “World News America” EP Rome Hartman about the special broadcast, something he and BBC News’ Kevin Bakhurst have been working on since last year.

“It’s something we’d talked about for months,” said Hartman, former EP of “CBS Evening News.” “I think that Cuba has long been the subject of great fascination, and that applies whether your working at BBC or CBS,” he said. “This seemed like the right stretch of time to take stock of the Cuba-America relationship.”

There’s a reason live newscasts from Cuba are rare, and Hartman admits that travel restrictions and the embargo “add complexity to the issue” of broadcasting from the country, even for an international news organization like the BBC.

“Having someone on the ground helps obviously, because he can talk to government officials,” adds Hartman, pointing out that BBC correspondent Michael Voss is permanently stationed in Havana. “I think clearly, the Cubans know that we are committed to covering Cuba as an ongoing story.”

Hartman recalls that Dan Rather was particularly passionate about reporting on Cuba, but says that “all of the American networks including CBS paid less attention to Cuba in recent years.”

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