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News Executives Talk Syria

The situation in Syria continues to evolve, even as western news organizations evacuate their correspondents from the country. B&C’s Andrea Morabito spoke to TV news executives and correspondents (subscription required) to get to the bottom of what goes into covering such a difficult story. While it is extremely difficult and dangerous, getting a correspondent into the country assures substantial coverage on all of the news platforms.

The shortage of compelling live video footage affects how much the Syria story can be covered on television, with reporters often having to stand on the border of neighboring countries, in stark contrast to the images of ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and CNN’s Anderson Cooper getting roughed up in Cairo’s Tahrir Square a year ago during the unrest in Egypt.

“If Richard [Engel] were to get in, just by virtue of being there in a place that we don’t have normal access to and the danger that it poses to our people for being there would probably force its way high up into our network shows,” David Verdi, NBC News VP of worldwide newsgathering, says of the network’s chief foreign correspondent.

And though social media has made access to amateur video readily available to news organizations, every network would rather get in-country to report the story first-hand, to make a connection for their viewers.

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