CNN is opening a new bureau in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Below are a few excerpts from the press release:
This expansion of operations in UAE is key to developing the network’s coverage of the Gulf region and beyond and supports current CNN bureaus in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo and Jerusalem.
As part of that expansion, Wilf Dinnick, most recently a Middle East correspondent for ABC News, becomes an international correspondent for CNN; and Samson Desta, formerly a supervising editor on CNN’s International Desk, becomes bureau chief.
As bureau chief, Samson Desta will be the coordinator of coverage from both offices and will oversee the building of the infrastructure in key countries in the region, notably Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Africa, as well as across the Middle East. Desta, with CNN for more than 10 years, moves into this new role after serving as supervising editor on CNN’s International Desk, where he played a central role in coordinating coverage around the world for all of CNN’s networks and services. Major stories include international reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tsunami in South Asia and the death of Pope John Paul II.
Joining CNN as the new UAE-based international correspondent, Wilf Dinnick comes from ABC News, where he served as Middle East correspondent. Prior to that, he worked for Canada’s Global National, CBC and CTV.
Dinnick has covered Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, the South Asia tsunami, Haiti, Ukraine and many other top stories in recent years. He will support CNN’s editorial needs across the region, which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Curious about the new international correspondent? Below is an article from October 2004 from the Toronto Sun's Driver Source. Marcy Cornblum had the opportunity to interview Wilf Dinnick who at that time was a reporter for the Global National. Below is an excerpt:
Wilf Dinnick is a respected journalist who came to Global National three weeks before Sept. 11, 2001. Minutes into the horrific events, Dinnick was on his way to New York City. He is not a reporter who shies away from being on the scene. In fact, he spends much of his time on the road, filing stories from places such as the deserts of Kuwait. Dinnick is one of the only Canadian network correspondents to shoot, edit and report all his stories. A lot of work, a lot of responsibility.
Dinnick rises to the challenge.
Before joining Global, he worked at CBC and CTV news. He has many awards on his mantel including the award for best continuing coverage on America's war on terror, chosen by the News Directors of Canada.
While on the road recently with the Global National Decision Canada bus, Dinnick was gracious enough to take time out of his hectic schedule to chat about his love of his favourite mode of transportation, his Vespa Prima Vera.
Q: You have travelled to Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan to name but a few ...
A: It's great. I'm a people-person. I'm always being asked questions about Canada. I was embarrassed. I hadn't been to all the provinces till now. I just recently crossed the country on the Global National Decision Canada Bus.
Q: Where did the news bug first bite?
A: My parents were into news and info junkies. My dad is a huge reader and had tons of subscriptions to magazines and newspapers. There were books everywhere. I've always been interested in the issues and meeting people. I always wanted to do this job. It really is a dream come true.
Q: What's the story behind your buying a Vespa?
A: My friend had a couple of them for 15 years. I thought they were great and always wanted one. But parts were hard to find. A few years went by and they became more popular. I'd see them popping up around town and discovered it was easier to get parts and service.
Q: Where do you carry your all important work-related stuff?
A: I carry a courier sack. There's also a small glove compartment in the front and a little side compartment. I throw my stuff in there.
Q: What's been the reaction to your driving a Vespa?
A: There's always a reaction. Either people think I'm silly or they're very curious. The curious stop to ask questions. I was driving along Eglinton and this cab drove up beside me. A kid in the back seat rolled down the window and waved a $5 bill yelling,"I'll buy that from you."
Q: Does it fit the image of a serious news journalist?
A: Not at all. It's a scooter. I think I should be driving a Harley, something bigger.
But the Vespa is fun to drive.
Q: Sounds like you have a good life.
A: I'm having fun. I hop on a plane or bus, get to meet people I'd otherwise never get the chance to meet and hear their stories.
Q: Where did you learn to drive a car?
A: I learned to drive in my grandfather's 505 Peugot when I was 13 in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. He used teach me to drive on the country roads on the 40-minute drive to church. It was quite a thrill.
Q: Do you own a car?
A: No. I'm not into cars at all. Years ago I owned a piece of junk Mazda 303. I only had a Mazda because I knew the cars last forever.
Q: Did you go on family road trips growing up?
A: Yes. In my parents' Volvo station wagon with the family and no seatbelts we'd make the 12-hour drive to the east coast of the United States every summer. I was a horrible passenger. I'd fight with my sisters. It was hot. My parents would get lost and argue the entire time.
Q: But you're not turned off of road trips?
A: No. This year I'm going to try to fit the Vespa in the back of another car and drive to Rhode Island. Riding the Vespa down the ocean roads and beaches is going to be spectacular.