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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Arwa Damon in Vogue

Photographed by Bjarne Jonasson has a great article on CNN's Arwa Damon with quotes from CNN colleagues Tony Maddox and Anderson Cooper.  Here's the first few paragraphs, to read the entire piece just click on this link. 

The Manhattan apartment CNN’s Arwa Damon has been camping out in this past week is a disaster zone. Among the flock of pashminas and well-worn jeans are all the trappings of a Boy Scout: fingerless gloves; bottles of DEET; dry shampoo; a bandanna that, with a pen, can be jury-rigged into a tourniquet; LED headlamps; small black nylon hoods (“because here’s the deal: We’re using night-vision cameras with bright screens, and we don’t want to be seen,” she says); size 8 combat boots; three cell phones (­American, Libyan, Lebanese); a heap of dark clothing. “I buy colors, but I don’t wear them,” says the diminutive blonde, her hair tucked into a paperboy cap. “Black is easier.” She throws it all into a suitcase, forming a pile twice its height, and points to a backpack in the corner. “When I’m on assignment, everything I need has to be carried on my back.” She climbs on top of the suitcase and zips it closed.
In the weeks since Damon discovered the personal diary of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens in the burned-out American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, this 35-year-old television reporter has been at the center of a developing story—never a comfortable position for someone whose job is to break the news, not create it. She and a cameraman arrived at the consulate three days after the terrorist attack on September 11, and, with no U.S. officials or security on the scene, they went right in—cameras rolling, lights blazing. “It was a grim sight,” Damon says. Smashed furniture was everywhere; tile shards littered the floor. “There were smeared partial handprints. The safe room was completely burned from the inside.” In an ash-shrouded bedroom, Damon found the ambassador’s hardbound diary, set in plain view on the floor between the bed and an upholstered side chair. The seven pages of handwritten scrawl inside revealed a man who had begun to fear for his safety in a country only recently emerging from revolution.
Damon’s network broadcast her footage and reported on concerns raised in the diary, sparking a now-roiling debate over security conditions in Benghazi. Why was the consulate so lightly defended? Why were news crews seemingly the only ones with eyes and ears on the ground after the attack? The State Department weighed in harshly, calling CNN “disgusting” for its use of the ambassador’s diary as a source (CNN says the Stevens family was contacted within hours of the discovery and the diary’s newsworthy content was independently corroborated).
Damon doesn’t revel in the reporting that initiated a national outrage. Nor does she waste a minute worrying about what Hillary Clinton’s team thinks of her. “Honestly, it’s a blip,” she says, piling her final pieces of gear into the backpack. “You never want to be part of the news. But doing what I do, you’re used to curveballs. You deal with it because you deal with everything.”

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Anonymous said...

Good for Arwa Damon.
She is so underrated as a foreign correspondent and she does such a fine job in such dangerous zones all the time.
She does this none stop and no one deserves this publicity more than she, and knowing her, she didn't seek it, like others, those at Vogue found her.

Anonymous said...

I touched on this yesterday and do not know why it was not posted.
It was critical of the shooter and the NRA, so again I do not know why it was skipped.
However, I will reiterate.
I do not care what the shooter motivation was, nor do I care whether he was beaten as a child and no one understood him.
I could care less about his background or his intentions and as far as I'm concerned he legally killed, 26 people because his weapons were bought legally! So What!
President Obama has a choice to make.
He either toughens up the gun control Laws, like Mayor Bloomberg has suggested, or stop the hand-wringing and the condolences.
This horror has happened too many times and it has been under HIS WATCH.
The NRA is responsible for these shootings and they know it....IMHO.
Gun control was barely mentioned during the campaign, like the sacred cow it has become.
This President has not one thing to lose. He can't run again so go after the almighty.
Yes, people kill people, with the help of hand guns and we can't afford to analyze every nut case out there.
The victims were children. Were these children supposed to carry weapons to school in order to protect themselves, just in case?
Stop with the nonsense of 'self defense!'
I likened this to the killing of Bambi....these kids were dead in the woods and defenseless, and if that is critical of the NRA, and second Amendment rights, so be it.
If the President really shares our sorrow, do something about it, before it happens again....and it will.