By Kam Williams Special To The Skanner
KW: How are the kids? Last time we spoke, they played such a big role, demanding your attention periodically during the interview.
SO: [Chuckles] They’re fine, thanks. When I go back to Haiti in June and Sofia’s out of school, I’ll take her with me, which will be an interesting trip. And, from there, we’ll go to New Orleans, because she’s getting old enough to start touring some of the places I’ve worked.
KW: What interested you in covering this story?
SO: I don’t think you can walk around reporting on Haiti and be on the ground there, and not feel compelled by the story of the orphaned and abandoned children. When I was there immediately after the earthquake, there was certainly nothing as heart-wrenching as seeing the condition of many of the kids, because it’s such a massive problem. So, I was eager to cover the story for CNN with a potential global audience of two billion people.
KW: Two things that shocked me watching an advanced copy of the special: the sheer number of Haitian children without parents, 380,000, and the fact that about 300,000 of them are enslaved.
SO: It’s incredible, isn’t it? And that estimate is conservative. Some people put the number at around 1.5 million on the high side. That’s what I heard yesterday, but it’s just an educated guess at this point.
... to read the full article: Soledad O’Brien: The ‘Rescued’ Interview
By Mark Joseph
Q: What made you decide to make this documentary?
A: The story of Haiti's earthquake is so big and complicated. I arrived in Haiti just a few days after the earthquake and it was immediately clear to me that the plight of Haiti's orphans was the story I had focus on. Those problems existed before the quake--child slavery and poverty so intense it caused parents choose which children they'd care for and which to abandon. I was very compelled to tell the story of Haiti's orphans the moment I visited the first orphanage. Secondly, we had great footage from a young man who'd been shooting at one orphanage--The Lighthouse--a few years earlier. We met in Haiti, and I knew his footage documenting day-to-day life at this particular orphanage would help us put together a more complete portrait.
Q: How does being a mother of four yourself influence your desire to do a story like this?
A: I hope that any good journalist would say--this is a story that people need to know about. But as a mother--I guess any parent full grasps the horrible choice in handing off your child because you just can care for him because you have no job, and a result, no food. It's heartbreaking. We capture some of those moments in this documentary: a mother who begs to stay in the orphanage. But they can't take her--it's already too crowded. The orphanage is also running out of food. So, she hands over her infant--"please take him". It's so powerful and so desperately sad.
... to read the full article: Q&A With CNN Anchor Soledad O'Brien on Her New Haiti Documentary, Rescued