Monday, April 09, 2012

On The Frontlines - Part 6

'Anderson' was in repeats last week and we decided to take a look back to a special Anderson Cooper anchored that aired on AC360, Friday, December 23rd, 2011. This is the final installment of the special.

We look at the biggest stories from 2011 from our correspondents who covered the stories firsthand. I want to turn to the Japan earthquake and tsunami that hit on March 11.
No one can forget that video of a 30-foot wave that destroyed the city in minutes. Scenes like this played out all along the coast of northeast Japan.
And here is what caused the most fear, the cripple of Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. Explosions there causing major release of radioactive material.
Officials eventually put the damage on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union. Here's how it all started with that massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit the island nation.


COOPER: The thing that impresses me about all of you and I've worked with all of you and I've seen you in the field is that, you know, meet some people in the field, correspondents who swagger around as if they have a hard bitten newsman, they have seen it all and done it all and nothing affects them.
I think those people have no business being in the field, in those places because I think unless you are affected by it, unless you see it viewed as a human being, as well as a reporter, you don't do as effective of a job in telling the story of what human beings are going through. I have seen each of you in the field really be moved and overwhelmed at times by the things you have witnessed. How do you deal with it? How do you come back from that and then go back out again at?

IVAN WATSON: It's the worst is the feeling of helplessness, if you are watching some child dying or a family that have lost their home or whatever. I mean, you can try to be empathetic.
You can try to explain the story to the world, but there's little you can do. You can give them a bottle of water. You can give them a granola bar, people in worst situations, but ultimately --

ROBERTSON: You can feel their suffering, but can't take their suffering away from them and I think that hurts.

COOPER: How do you deal with seeing this stuff time and time again?

WATSON: I feel beaten up after some of these assignments. And this year with all the euphoria of the Arab spring has also been, you know, I think for all of us, personally exhausting. Nic, made a joke we all look older than we did a year ago. I think everybody feels that way.

COOPER: Do you feel you carry the people you have met?

ROBERTSON: Sometimes. I've experienced on several occasions I would sit on the plane on the way home, which is the first time when you can actually stop and you are not focusing on working and the next story and you are beginning to disconnect and disengage.
The tears roll down my face and I can't stop it. I don't want to stop it because that's part of the release. I'm lucky when I go home, I walk in the front door, I have two girls and a lovely wife. I get on with that and I like running. That dissipates some of it. But why do we go out again? Because ultimately, we believe it does make a difference.

AC360 Transcript
AC360 Podcast

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