Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's been quite a year my friends

(screencaps courtesy of JLD1119, bcfraggle, liberation and merryfitzmas)

I’ve had this post planned for over a week now. Its actually been really fun to write. I’ve been going back over the past year and documenting all of Anderson’s accomplishments. Reading through all of my old posts on my old blog, I actually felt exhausted just thinking about all of the things Anderson has done in just 12 short months. The year began with breaking news out of Upshur County, WV and ironically is coming to a close with three breaking news stories in the last week of this year. All three breaking news stories signal the end of an era in one way or another. Of course, Anderson’s final broadcast of the year will come on Sunday night beginning at 11pm EST in Times Square.

But let’s look back on what has been one amazing year for Anderson Cooper and AC360. January began with the heartbreaking story of the 12 miners who perished in Upshur County, WV. I watched the entire story play out before my eyes. We all did. I remember hanging out on the couch with Pipeline and my TV going at the same time, just waiting for word on the trapped miners. When word came that the 12 miners were alive, I remembered thinking to myself, “Finally! Finally Anderson gets to cover a story with a happy ending.” I was really relieved for Anderson as much as I was relieved for those 12 families. Something told me not to go to bed. Something just wasn’t right. And much to everyone’s dismay, we watched as Anderson got word from Lynnette Roby and her children that 12 miners had perished and only Randy McCloy had survived. It was just gut wrenching to see Anderson’s reaction and how horrible he felt reporting the wrong story. Much of the fallout on how the media reported this story landed in Anderson’s lap. I felt that was completely unfair and sent a note to Aaron Barnhart saying so. It was on that day that I decided to start my old blog, Sheryn’s Anderations.


I didn’t want this post to be a recap of the news stories of the year, AC360 did that already. I did, however want to focus on all of Anderson’s accomplishments. I think the first big accomplishment came on Anderson’s mother birthday, February 20th. On that day, Anderson blogged that he had finished his book and had sent it on to his publisher. I went back and read that post. You have to go back and read it now that the whole book whirlwind is over. It is really cute!

In the first quarter of 2006, Anderson had returned to New Orleans a couple of times, reported from that gigantic tunnel found on the Mexican border and returned to the border for what became one of 2006’s major political issues and Lou Dobbs’ platform, border security.

On March 15th, Anderson was honored by NARSAD, the Mental Health Research Association, for his “open reporting on depression and mental illness.” Anderson was introduced by Mike Wallace. I remember reading a transcript of his acceptance speech and it was truly moving. In fact, his speech brought the crowd to their feet and they honored Anderson with a standing ovation.

In April, Anderson did a 2 hour special on Sebastian Junger’s new book, A Death In Belmont. The show was awesome. The odd part of that night was, the 1 ½ hours of the show was taped so that Anderson could attend the PEN Literary Gala. The Anderson came back live for the last ½ hour of the show! Wow, he really is a hard-working guy! But the big event for Anderson that month was to come a few days later. CBS had reported on April 27th that they were hammering out a deal for Anderson to become a contributor to 60 Minutes. Anderson had agreed to do 5 shows in the upcoming Fall TV season. He is also allowed to air those stories on his own program at CNN. Judging from the first story we saw this month, Anderson Cooper fits right in with the 60 Minutes team!

May was a huge month for Anderson! First, he made the cover of the June 2006 Vanity Fair magazine. In that issue, we got our first glimpse of Dispatches From The Edge. We were all a buzz! Anderson’s ratings seemed to be getting a bit of a boost as well! He made an appearance at the BookExpo and gave the Yale Class Day speech all in the same weekend! And then came Anderson’s big day: May 23, 2006. Dispatches From The Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival was released! I don’t know about you but I was so proud of him that day! I read Anderson’s blog post thru tears.

That month started the onslaught of publicity appearances. The Early Show, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, Charlie Rose, Oprah and Regis & Kelly. And this was only the beginning!

June was a great month for not only Anderson but Anderfans as well! Not only were the reviews in and they were mostly great, on June 1st Bookscan had reported that Dispatches reached #1 for weekly sales! Not bad for his first week! Anderson and AC360 had returned to NOLA at the beginning of June and then we finally got to see the Larry King Live interview. (for some reason, they kept rescheduling that one!)

Now here’s where we Anderfans got a special treat. Anderson’s book tour started on June 6th. I was a huge success. I know because I was there to witness hundreds of people turn out to get their copies of Dispatches signed by our favorite anchor. Not only were New York’s book signings a success but ALL of his book signings were jam-packed full of fans! It was so exciting just reading everyone’s accounts of how gracious and sweet he was to everyone. His last book signings were appropriately in NOLA where he also attended the ALA conference in the Convention Center.

By June 10th, Dispatches reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list! No easy feat, I must say! Anderson also did radio interviews as well as Good Morning America and The Daily Show. Oh yeah, and he also scored the biggest interview of the year: Angelina Jolie. That caused quite a stir!

July brought an interview with David Letterman which was the last time we would see Anderson in the States for a month. On July 14th, Anderson and the 360 team went to the Middle East to cover the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. AC360 did a terrific job traveling between Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon to give us all the angles on a very important story.

Anderson finally came home in time for the 1st Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. AC360 returned to NOLA to cover the story for two days. The coverage was marred by polygamy and John Mark Carr. During that visit, the city of New Orleans honored Anderson in a ceremony that some of our Anderfriends attended. I heard it was very moving.

In September, Anderson and AC360 contributors were honored with two Emmys for their work in Niger and New Orleans in 2005. Anderson also covered September 11th from an American base in Afghanistan. And in October, Anderson and Sanjay joined Jeff Koinange in covering the devastation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan in Chad. It was some of the best reporting Anderson and his team had done all year. Anderson and CNN knew that this story was not a ratings grabber but they put their hearts and souls into this story and it showed. All of the reports were wonderful. And yes, the gorillas are still my favorite part!

If you aren’t already exhausted from this lengthy recap of Anderson’s terrific year, I’ll go on to tell you about his extremely productive November! AC360 started out the month covering key issues that would shape the upcoming mid-term elections. One of those issues was stem-cell research. Anderson sat down with Michael J. Fox in Washington to discuss the controversy. It was an educational and moving interview. CNN did a terrific job covering the mid-term elections. I was on vacation but got to see bits and pieces in the airport! The ratings were great! I also enjoyed AC360’s special, “Coming Home” prepared for Veterans Day. Anderson gave a couple of speeches at the University of Buffalo and Southern Methodist University. I’m told that the speech he gave to the students during the day at SMU broke attendance records! November ended with Anderson in Turkey and Jordan to cover the Pope’s visit and Bush’s sit-down with the Iraqi Prime Minister.

This month has also been a huge one for Anderson. Another Emmy award for AC360 and 60 Minutes aired Anderson’s first piece on December 10th. I was like a proud mama! (I actually cried for the first 2 minutes of the show! I know, its strange!) This past week has seen breaking news of all sorts. James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, and former President Gerald Ford have passed. And now, today, December 30th (Iraqi time) former Dictator Saddam Hussein was executed. Anderson has covered all of these stories with such grace and dignity.

Looking back over the past year has been fun. I’ve also remembered my personal achievements as well as the many wonderful friends I have made. Its been one heck of a year blogging about Anderson Cooper! I’ve learned much, I’ve seen much, and I’ve heard much. But one thing I know for sure: Anderson Cooper is the hardest working journalist in the business!

This is my last post of the year and I want to wish all of you a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year! - Sheryn

20 comments:

Phebe said...

Wow Sheryn what a wonderful post and what a wonderful year for Anderson. It seems the year ended for AC the way it began, with breaking news. Another 360 marathon last night seems a fitting end to a huge news year and a huge year for Anderson too.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a touching post! I have to tell you Gloria and Wyatt raised this man right. He is definately compassionate,caring, loyal, trustworthy and full of energy. The work ethic amazes me!
My impact on society seems so small. Didn't someone in NO say he had the voice of 1,000 bulldozers? The thing about Anderson is that he has the entire package -- he is easy on the eyes, smart, witty and is easily understood.

I was watching last night and I don't know how many times he went over the CNN procedures on what may or may not air as pictures of Saddam. Once again, he was thinking about the audience (young and old). I kept on thinking I really don't want to see any tough pictures of Saddam. I was thinking OK, Anderson, if the management of CNN saw the pictures of Saddam and they say he is gone, then I trust you. I really, really do. It was good that his audience was sending him messages via the web. It is good to know that CNN really reads whatever people send in -- good or bad.

I think he signed off about 1:30 AM EST and I turned the tube off. His coverage surpassed all the other networks including ABC, CBS and Fox. Once again, CNN delivered.

Also thanks ATA for posting the re-run on Oprah. That show was amazing and I am trying to see what I can do to help some more people in 2007. I always knew we had too much. Never did I fully understand we have people in America with no running water. I can't amagine living off $225 per week when I can spend that on food and wine in one week for 4 people.

Sorry, my intension was not to brag. I don't want anyone to think I am being Trump like. Just for the record, I don't have billions!

I gave DH a research challenge for 2007. Who has given more to charity, Trump or Rosie and how much? If we find good sources, I will let you know.

Anonymous said...

Sheryn, a very moving post. Thanks.

Today's my anniversary (12/30). Kinda weird and kinda creepy knowing I will share that date with Saddam's execution.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Hello... I am a lurker! ^^ I just had to comment on your wonderful summary of Anderson's busy and productive year... I also loved last night's AC360. I stayed up until about 1, and Anderson definitely had the best coverage of all networks.

I just want to say that the poor man is way too over-worked. It's obvious that he was very tired: he kept on making mistakes calling Saddam's "half-brother" "brother-in-law" and the book "Shiite Revolution" "Shiite Revival". I guess his vacation was cut too early... I hope he takes a break in the new year!

The funniest moment of the broadcast had to be between Anderson and Arwa.
Anderson: I know this is a dumb question... but how do you know the difference between a celebratory gunshot and insurgent gunshot?
Arwa: [laughs] Well... if the people aren't running away and are smiling...

I know those weren't the exact words, but that was so adorable. I love how he he sometimes plays dumb for the viewers.

I hope we have another great Anderson-filled year ahead of us!

-Elanor.

Anonymous said...

what a great post to end the year!

wishing all of you a very happy new year!!

xtina said...

Thanks for the post, Sheryn ! You did a fine job as usual.

Anon: your comment on Anderson 'playing dumb' for viewers reminds me of him asking what the sharp things are on the stingray, 'are those the stingers?'
Happy New year !

Anonymous said...

Sheryn, what a great post. No wonder you are under the weather…you worked so hard on the researching of this blog!

Is there any way to get a print or video of the 3/15 NARSAD speech? I would love to read/see it. I didn’t find my way to your blog (and then to ATA) until a few months ago. The first blogs I found were so mean and depressing that I just watched AC 360 and wished for more.

I stayed up all night watching Anderson continue to report (until International took over this morning.) As I commented the other day, on LKL Anderson said that reporting on breaking news, no script, was as exciting to him as reporting from a war or in the field. You could certainly tell last night—he was really in his element.

@Anna, I’d never heard that expression “the voice of 1,000 bulldozers,” that is impressive.

Sometimes I wonder if my Anderfantation (or our Anderfanation) is something that is shared just by those of us connected by a fine thread of appreciation and awareness of his intelligence, compassion, his ability to transport us to see what he is seeing through his eyes and his heart. It is heartening to know that beyond our little family others do appreciate all that he is and root for all that he is yet to become. I think he will someday surpass Walter Cronkite as the warm and comforting source of unbiased news reporting.

And I hope that on the lighter days when news isn’t so burdensome, that he still will always let us see that snarky and funny side of him that makes him so unique among all his peers.

@Anna, I don’t think you comment was in any way bragging. I haven’t watched the rerun, but on the original show I remember feeling the same as you. You don’t have to have a lot to see that you have a lot more ‘stuff’ than you truly need, and wonder whether that money could have been better spent to improve someone else’s plight.

The day after Christmas, I was impressed when a friend (who isn’t wealthy) told me that they had gone to a rather expensive dinner as a family Christmas present. It was far too much food, and no one in the family could even finish half of their meal. As they were walking to their car her 15 year old son asked for his take-home box. She gave it to him and he walked over to a homeless person around the corner who happened to catch his eye and gave it to her. She was so proud.

I felt bad when Anderson took so much heat for showing the insurgency film. I thought it was presented well and in full context. But, of course, out of context it took on a life of its own and Anderson (unjustly) became the fall-guy. Interesting that he made sure he went over the rules that upper-management would take on what CNN would air. He did it with dignity and respect for his viewers. At one point he did mention that they had just received the first photo, but people were actually emailing him while he was on the air (how do you do that??) wanting to see them--pretty sordid. I was among those that was feeling good that someone would review them and not show us every detail.

@Elanor, that was the only lighthearted moment, but it was pretty funny. Anderson also mentioned that he thought all the reporters should have their protective gear on, and they dutifully complied later in the broadcast. I don’t know what will happen today, but I was relievee that dawn and beyond came without any retaliation to the Americans.

Thought that it was funny that, according to reports, Bush was asleep when Saddam was hung *strike that* executed (sorry, couldn’t use Pres Bush and hung in the same sentence—didn’t seem appropriate.) Wouldn’t that make it about 8pm or 9pm in Texas? What a wus!

Sorry this post is long, I’m sure you are getting tired of hearing from me. I will wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Loving New Year and try to just be a ‘reader’ of this wonderful Blog for a while.

Anonymous said...

@anna,

I assume that Anderson and CNN were overly cautious about alerting the audience of the pending Sadam execution photo shots because of the recent whirlwind negative publicity on the "sniper" airing incident.

Sheryn said...

Thanks guys! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Anderson has had one amazing year! I even left off stuff like the 92Y event and I'm sure I forgot far more things!

Anderson did a wonderful job last night. He & CNN were very cautious about warning the viewing audience which I for one am happy about. I would not want to see any of the gruesome details.

@Pixie, I'll look around for the speech. I know someone actually wrote an article about it. I'll post a link if I find it.

Happy New Year everyone!

Unknown said...

Great job! Must have taken awhile to write this :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone:

The story about the NO man who said Anderson had "a voice of 1,000 bulldozers" is on page 187.

Here how the story goes. Anderson is at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in NO and it was in the evening and the power was shut down. Anderson introduces himself to a man at the bar. He is a local who has been helping the CNN crew. He doesn't recognize Anderson and when
Anderson tells him his name he seems surprised.

"I thought you must be some old geezer," he says, merlot on his breath. Mardi Gras beads wrapped around the stem of the glass. "When people say your name, they shake."

Anderson told him I doubt that is true. "No really," the man insists. "You have the power of a thousand bulldozers."

Anderson goes on to say that he doesn't believe it is true. He doesn't like to think about his job that way.

Anyway, I changed it some to say, "he has the voice of 1,000 bulldozers which was not factually accurate." Sorry!

Someone interviewed him and this quote was mentioned and he just put his head down in a very, very humble way.

Anyway, I just wonder is Anderson more like his dad or more like his mother or is he a combination of both of them? Just a thought!

BookAsylum said...

Anderson seems to thrive in chaos- whether its breaking news or field reporting. Do you think he was a tad bit relieved when he didn't have to be the one to first air the photo/ video of the execution?

2006 has been a whirlwind year. Great post, Sheryn!

Happy New Year! I hope you all have a wonderful 2007!

Anonymous said...

Sheryn,
Perfect post to end the year with. I have to add, I agree with Pixie, when they announced that Saddam had been dead for 10 minutes, and they didn't wake the president - it was only about 7:30PM PST, which would be @8:30 - 9:00PM in Texas, WTF? He must do a lot of thinking out there in Texas to make him so tired in order to go to bed so early - and sleep deeply enough not to be awaken!

lori said...

Hey Sheryn! What a fabulous and thoughtful post! Thank you so much for the wonderful recap.

I was so excited to catch Anderson last night with breaking news. 2006 will certainly be a memorable year for AC and his fans, myself included.

Here's to a happy, healthy, safe, peaceful 2007!

Quitty said...

Awesome job! What I'm posting tonight for the last of 2006 pales in compare to this.

I bet everything he's done is written about in his personal journals. He has done enough this year to write another book.

Angie said...

I am from Upshur County and I have to say, it was NOT Andersons fault that the news about the miners got out the way it did. I thought Anderson did a tremendous job of telling our story. He is wonderful.

Aaron Barnhart said...

Hi Sheryn. And to think I was there at the beginning! Nice work.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sheryn - great posting; it must have taken a lot of time to get all this together. I agree with you, reading about all Anderson has done this year made me tired just reading about it. He is one great man;or more appropriately, a blue eyed angel.

Happy New Year to all and thanks Sheryn for a great blog; this one and SherynsAnderations. I've enjoyed your input on both as well as everyone else at ATA. Best wishes for all 365 days of the new year.

Sheryn said...

Aaron, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! You made my night! Have a great New Year!

Sheryn said...

@PT, you have no idea! I hate HTML!!!

@Anna, thank you for posting that passage. I remember it well. It was even in the Vanity Fair Mag.

@Quitty, thanks for the compliment! Nothing you do pales in comparison! I'd love to read his journals. I'm sure he's seen so much more than what gets reported. It would be a fascinating second book, I agree!

@ Lori, Happy New Year, hon! I hope you are recovered from the Christmas onslaught!

@Book Assylum, I would be relieved but somehow, I think he may have a competitive edge and wanted to break with the pics first. I dunno, I couldn't look at the pictures. Far too graphic. But I do understand the need for them to be published given this administration's track record for telling the truth.

@Sfacfan, Lord honey, I could write an entire blog post on how pissed I was to find out that our Leader was sleeping during the whole thing. I'm too tired for a rant now but maybe I'll be inspired at a later date!

@Xtina, I'm ducking! LOL! I look forward to more wonderful debates in the New Year!

@Angie, thanks for commenting. I do remember that you are from Upshur County and I used to visit your blog all the time. I miss your posts! Do you blog elsewhere now?