Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday's AC 360 and We've Got Answers

The beautiful Soledad O'Brien sat in the anchor chair on Tuesday night. Soledad did a full two hour show, covering everything from the debates on MSNBC to an small earthquake in CA, a Keeping Them Honest segment and more. I was a bad fan and really just watched the first hour. It was a rare opportunity for me to see Dancing With The Stars and Boston Legal in real time. Every week the suspense of the results show is ruined for me by someone emailing me the results or I overhear someone talking about who went home. Last night I grabbed the chance to watch it live (well as live as it gets on the West Coast). I knew the highlight of my post was going to be Mike Watkiss' wonderful answers to our questions so I didn't feel to guilty for skipping out on Soledad. Here's a brief recap of the program and then on to our q & a. First up was Peter Bergen giving us the 411 on Afghanistan. Things are deteriorating quickly with a blizzard of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and on the Pakistan border.
Soledad quickly moved on to a discussion with Michael Ware in studio and Nic Robertson live from Iraq. Basic consensus was that the lowered violence in Iraq is due to the prevalence of segregation. Seems if we haven't already created civil war in Iraq it's only a matter of time.

Now on to what I'm most excited about tonight.

If you remember we asked for questions for Mike Watkiss, a few weeks ago.
If you're not familiar with Mike, he's a local reporter in the Phoenix market and the proud recipient of two Edward R. Murrow Awards. Recently, he has been a frequent contributor to AC360 and guest on Larry King Live, sharing his knowledge of Warren Jeffs and the FDLS Church.
Mike began his career as a radio reporter and talk show host in his hometown of Salt Lake City. He also served as the news director of a country and western radio station in Boise, Idaho. His first television job was with the ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, where he worked his way from general assignment reporter to the head of the station's investigative/consumer protection unit.
Watkiss came to Phoenix in August 1996 as a general assignment reporter. Prior to that, he worked as a freelance producer for two Paramount syndicated shows, "Hard Copy" and "Real TV." For nearly eight years, Watkiss also worked on the syndicated news magazine "A Current Affair," first as a general assignment reporter based in New York, and later as the Los Angeles bureau chief and West Coast correspondent.
Mike has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Stanford University and he earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York.

As always ATA's readers came through with some wonderful questions for Mike. And Mike obliged with some very interesting answers. Enjoy!

From Book Asylum:
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I'm looking forward to reading your book. When can we expect to see it in bookstores?
What attracted you to pursuing a career in journalism?
Can we look forward to seeing more reports from you on CNN?

Dear "Book Asylum":
At this point my book is actually more threat than reality. In many ways I feel completely inadequate to the task and intimidated by the mere thought of sitting down and writing “a book.”
Several years ago I locked myself up in a t.v. edit bay for nearly a year—writing and producing a documentary about polygamy called “Colorado City and the Underground Railroad”. It was a fascinating and rewarding exercise. But for a hyper-active, crazed lunatic like me it was also a near-death experience--frightening, excruciating and claustrophobic at the same time.

So for this “book” writing project I have decided to start out with more modest goals. I am slowly rolling out some of the topics and some of the incidents from my career in a blog called “Confessions of an Ambulance Chaser.”
As long as people continue to read and respond to the blog--and as long as the demons in my soul and in my head continue to howl—I’ll continue to write.
As far as writing a “book”—I guess we’ll see what happens.

What attracted me to journalism? It probably started with my father. He was young soldier in WWII fighting Adolph Hitler’s forces on the snowy battlefields and in the frozen trenches of Europe. (At one point he was hospitalized with frostbite and almost had his feet amputated.)
When he came back to his home in Salt Lake City following the war, he used the GI Bill to go to law school and become a lawyer. Throughout his life, however, he frequently spoke with great admiration and a certain sense of longing about the work of journalist Edward R. Murrow.
During much of the war Murrow, of course, was in Europe telling the stories that my dad was living and my father obviously had a great respect for Murrow and what he did. Later in his life my father would often tell me and my two older brothers that if he “could do it all over again” he would be a “trench coat wearing foreign correspondent” reporting from exotic and far-off places around the world.
Now I’m not saying that I’m living out my dad’s dream--but those stories probably played a role in my career decision.

Will you see more of my work on CNN?--Who knows. That’s really a question better addressed to CNN. I produce stories everyday and if other people are interested in running them I’m always open to the request.

From Leigh:
Mike, I live in Phoenix, and watch you on Channel 3 so I followed the Polygamy Diaries. Now I wonder since Warren Jeffs has been tried and convicted, will you pursue another big story for Arizona... perhaps the border problems? Thank you for all of your hard work!
- Leigh :-)

Dear Leigh--
I’m always looking for the next big story! And it’s interesting you should mention the “border”--I recently got back from Mexico. Despite all its many problems I love the area around the border. I love the people. I love the feel.
I have spent well over a decade of my life covering what in essence has been a great human drama and social revolution on Arizona’s northern border (i.e. the polygamists of Colorado City). And now the time seems right for me to start looking south for some new stories and some new challenges. (p.s. thanks for the words of encouragement).
From Phebe:
I’d be interested in hearing how the process of reporting for Larry King Live and AC360 works. Do you have much notice or is it a last minute thing? Do you have to obtain permission from Belo or is it done on your own time? Do you receive assignment requests from CNN or do they tap into the reports that you are already doing for KTVK?

Recently you lost 4 colleagues in the terrible crash of two news helicopters in Phoenix. I watched your channel for hours that day and was amazed at the composure you and the other on air talent managed to show during the live shots from the crash scene. Can you talk a little about how that event has affected you as a reporter and a person?

My dear friend Phebe--
First of all I would like to thank you for all of your support and encouragement over the years. You have always been very kind and gracious and for that I am very grateful.
As far as doing stories or making guest appearances on CNN or one of the other networks--for me it’s usually a last minute sort of thing.
By that I mean I usually get a phone call about midday from some young producer asking me if I can appear on such and such a show to talk about whatever the topic might be that particular night. As I know you are probably aware--the topic I am asked to address is usually polygamy--but in the past I have also appeared to talk about wild fires, gas shortages and immigration.
The day-of-air invitation to appear is usually about as much advance warning as I ever get. Like most good news shows AC360 and Larry King Live are often scrambling right up until the last minute--rearranging--improving--re-editing--rethinking--redoing their show to make it the best it can be. Often times they are changing topics and guests up until the last minute. It’s usually a very fluid process so you sort of learn to roll with it.
And I’ve got to confess it is that wild, spontaneous, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mayhem that is the part of the media business I still like the best.

As far as getting my company’s approval for such extracurricular activities--the truth is Belo has always been wonderfully supportive of my quixotic crusades. They basically leave me alone to do my thing. And for an eccentric old reporter like me that’s just the way I like it.

Phebe--that day the two news helicopters went down here in Phoenix was the worst day of my career.
I can honestly tell you there has not been a day since that I haven’t thought about my good pals Scott Bowerbank and Jim Cox. Jimmy was one of my very dearest and closest friends. He was a brilliant shooter and a stand-up guy. I miss him terribly. We traveled the world and had some wild adventures together. We also produced some damn fine journalism. We often fought like hot-blooded brothers and we cried in each others arms at places like New York’s Ground Zero.
I honestly can’t remember what the hell I said on television that long and surreal day as I attempted to cover the chopper crash and the deaths of my friends and at this point I really have no desire to go back and look.
What impact has it had on me? I don’t know. The truth is I’m still trying to sort all that out. But one thing I do know it has turned me into a sloppy, weepy, and emotional old man who suddenly finds himself tearing up at the oddest things--like sound of wind in the trees or the sight of children playing in a park.
It’s also left me wishing that I had told Jimmy in so many words just how much I loved him.
From Purple Tie:
Would you like to someday work for CNN or another major network? If so, what type of correspondent would you like to be... one over a certain area or topic?

Do you think the FLDS are still building up fortifications up on their Texas Property? If so, do you worry there could be another Waco?

Dear “Purple Tie”--
I am flattered that you would even entertain the thought that I could work for CNN. The truth is television is a business of youth and I’m probably a little long-in-the-tooth at this point in my career to be generating much interest at the network level.
But to paraphrase my old buddy O.J. “if I did”--I would probably want to hit the road and cover stories like Darfur--the Mexican border--and the exploitation of women and children wherever it may occur around the globe.

Yeah--the FLDS compound continues to grow in Texas. Yet as I have stated many times during my public discussions of the FLDS people--they do not have a history of violence toward the outside world. I would argue that their violence is focused internally on their own women and children.
With that said, however, I do think it would be wise for authorities to keep a very watchful eye on Eldorado and that Texas Temple. In many ways we have sort of entered uncharted waters with all this compound building and with Mr. Jeffs’ criminal conviction.

From Quitty:
What story have you covered or interview you've done that you are the most proud of?
Do you think real change will come from jailing Warren Jeffs?

Dear Quitty--
I’m definitely proud of the work we have done on polygamy. I’m also proud of the work we did on the streets of New York following 911--and in Biloxi, Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
I have been very lucky in my career. I have had the opportunity to be, quite literally, ringside for history. I was on the streets of L.A. during the Rodney King Riots. I was with one of the first t.v. crews to arrive at the crime scene the morning the bodies of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson were discovered. I then went on to cover O.J.’s murder prosecution--the so-called “Trial of the Century.” I was dispatched to London when Princess Diana was killed and then spent an extraordinary couple of weeks in Great Britain covering the aftermath and the Princess’ unforgettable funeral.
I reported from Cape Cod during the desperate search for J.F.K. Jr.’s missing aircraft. I was with my good friend cameraman Jim Cox in Simi Valley as tens of thousands of mourners made an amazing pilgrimage to pay their respects to Ronald Reagan following his death. And Jimmy and I were in Palm Beach Florida as the disputed 2000 presidential election damn near unraveled the country.
I am definitely proud of the work we did during all of these “big” stories. (I say “we” because much of the credit goes to some of the wonderful photographers and editors I have been privileged to work with during my career). I am also very proud of the work we just did on the San Diego fires.
But honestly the stories that have given me the most satisfaction and have had the greatest impact on me are stories that have not grabbed national headlines. The story of a Phoenix mom named Christy Parker comes immediately to mind. One terrible night Christy discovered that her live-in boy friend had been molesting her young daughter. Christy confronted the no-good bastard--his response: he shot Christy’s daughter in the head and shot Christy in the throat. The daughter--a beautiful little 14-year-old girl named Cassy--died instantly. Christy survived and I first met her a couple of days later when I interviewed her as she lay badly wounded in a hospital bed. With a bullet wound to her throat, Christy could not talk of course so she wrote out her answers to my questions on a piece of paper with the help of her 8-year-old son. Christy and I went on to become very good friends. I covered the trial of the ex-boyfriend as the S.O.B. was sent to prison. Christy then went on to help open a domestic violence shelter that is named after her daughter.
It’s stories like that, I will never forget.

From Lisa:
Have you had the chance to interview or speak with Warren Jeffs? What were your thoughts on him in person? If not, what would you like to ask him?

Dear Lisa--
No I have never had the opportunity to interview Warren Jeffs and to my knowledge no other reporter has either. I don’t believe Mr. Jeffs has ever granted an interview and I doubt he ever will.
But let me assure you it is not for lack of trying. Long before all the walls and barricades started going up in Colorado City and Hildale, I interviewed most of the community’s major leaders.
I have also tried on several occasions to interview Warren and his now deceased father Rulon. But always I was turned away at the family’s front door and a police officer was always summoned to escort me and my cameraman off the prophet’s property.

The bottom line: throughout its history the practice of polygamy has never held up well to the light of day. To sustain the practice on a community level--such as in FLDS culture--there is by necessity a chronic and systemic predation on young girls. To make it work--that’s always been the ugly truth!
The last thing a guy like Warren Jeffs wants to do is sit down with a wise-guy reporter like me and answer hardball questions about the practice.
Several years ago when I was aggressively pursuing a story about a missing young girl in Colorado City I confronted the long time mayor Dan Barlow and some of the town’s polygamous cops to ask them why they weren’t doing anything to find the child.
As the exchange in the town’s offices between me and the mayor became more heated I said to the mayor “you guys are accountable to somebody!” And without missing a beat the old polygamist mayor hissed back at me “....but we are not accountable to YOU!”
At this point there are a lot of reporters who want to claim credit for having pushed this story to where it is today--but the truth is I’ve been the media “Public-Enemy Number One” up there for a very long time. Don’t get me wrong I’m proud of that--I’ve worked hard for that ranking. But I don’t think it puts me in very good standing to interview Warren Jeffs.
If I did get a chance, however, the question I’d like him to answer is this: If the
practice of polygamy is so wonderful, so sacred and so holy why is it that the men like him have to deprive the women and the girls of any meaningful education or opportunity to make it work?
From Sheryn Royce,
Hi Mike! First, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. In reading your bio I've found that you've covered most of the major stories of our time. Is there one international story that you would like to cover, ie Darfur or the uprising in Burma? Also, who would you consider your mentor or inspiration?

Dear Sheryn Royce--
The older I get the more determined I am to avoid superficial and stupid stories. I’m not a bit interested in celebrities or sports stars. I got a gut-full of that sort of crap during my years at the tabloid t.v. show “A Current Affair.” Yeah--I’d probably go to Darfur or Burma if iI got the opportunity. Who knows someday I might.

The most powerful role models in my life have been my mom and dad and my two big brothers--my wife is my muse--and my heroes are the handful of brave women who started what is really nothing short of the human rights revolution in Colorado City: Flora Jessop, Pennie Petersen, Ruth Stubbs, Lenore Holm, Cheri Beth Taylor, the two young Fawns--Fawn Broadbent and Fawn Holm and of course now we can add the name of the very courageous Elissa Wall to that list.
They are people of enormous fortitude and I feel very fortunate to have known them and to have covered their stories.

From Maya Elena,
I've got a couple fun questions for you!
1. What's on your iPod?
2. What's your favorite movie?
3. What is your favorite author?
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Congratulations on a well-deserved Edward R. Murrow Award!

Dear Maya Elena--
Favorite music: Neil Young, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Darl Chryst. (p.s. I don’t own an iPod--I think its a generational thing)

Favorite movies: My Life As a Dog, Apocylpse Now, Unforgiven, Dumb and Dumber. (The last flick included on the list because I’m in it and I’m still getting residual checks)
Best movie seen this year: Away From Her (with Julie Christie)

Favorite Authors: Charles Dickens, John Cheever, Truman Capote, E.L Doctorow, Jerzy Kosinski , and Tony Hillerman
(p.s. Maya Elena--thanks for the fun questions)
From Rainbow:
What local story in Phoenix do you think deserves more national attention?

Dear Rainbow--

What Phoenix story do I think deserves more attention? The fact that we are rapidly running out of water and nobody seems to give a damn!
From Em:
What compelled you to begin investigating and reporting on the situations in Hilldale and Colorado City?
I know you were born and raised in Utah and assume you still have family living here, what have been their reactions to your reports on polygamy?

Dear Em--The fact that I grew up in Salt Lake City and have polygamist ancestors certainly served as the starting points for my journey. But, while I have known polygamists and polygamous families throughout my life, it is not like I had any particular interest in the subject before I became a reporter.
But as fate would have it--many of the stories I covered early in my career just seemed to have some link to polygamy. You may have read Jon Krakauer’s best selling book ”Under the Banner of Heaven.”

It is interesting because many of the stories that Krakauer writes about in his book from a historical perspective--I covered when the blood was still fresh and the crime tape was still up: the murderous Lafferty boys--the bloody Singer-Swapp saga--the twisted tale of Mormon bomber Mark Hofmann--and of course Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church. I’ve been covering this story long enough to see my “breaking news” stories become the stuff of historic tomes. (I’ve got to confess it makes me feel old!)
Looking back now I see that all of those stories sort of pushed me in this direction.
And one footnote to all this: one of my dearest friends in life was a famous polygamist named Alex Joseph. (If I ever write a book there will certainly be a chapter about Alex). He was a fascinating, charming and wonderful man who over the course of his colorful life had many wives--most of whom, at least as far as I know, were smart and well-educated women. I was close to Alex when he was the mayor of a tiny Utah town called “Big Water.”
I was a frequent visitor to his home and while Alex died several years ago I still occasionally communicate with a couple of his wives and still consider them my friends.
And, believe it or not, it was actually Alex who really got me interested in focusing on what Warren Jeffs and his dad Rulon were doing. Alex frequently use to tell me that what was going on in Colorado City was “wrong” and was going to create trouble for all polygamists. I figured if Alex was saying that there must be something to the story.

And as far as my family is concerned--they have always been very supportive of me and my work.

From Mary:
Although polygamy is illegal, it has been practiced openly in Utah for as long as I can remember and accusations of forced marriages, incest, and abuse are nothing new. I have my theories, but I am wondering why you think officials in Utah and Arizona turned a blind-eye to these practices for so long?

Do you think Warren Jeff's recent conviction will change questionable practices in the FLDS community or do you think someone else will just take over where he left off?

Dear Mary--
Polygamy is illegal in both Utah and Arizona and we could discuss for hours why officials have done nothing about it--the disasterous ’53 raid--the misguided assertions of religious freedom--etc. etc. The bottom line: until being pushed by a handful of brave activists and a couple of determined reporters, officials in both states didn’t have the guts to do a damn thing.
Credit does need to be given to the two young prosecutors--Matt Smith in Mohave County Arizona and Brock Belnap in Washington County, Utah--they represent a new generation. They came into office after the public had been exposed to story after story of abuse and they, to their credit, had the guts to do something about it. But it has been a frustratingly long haul to get to this point.
Hopefully Warren Jeffs’ conviction will send a powerful message to polygamous men to lay off the young girls.
But I’ve got to confess after all these years, I’m kind of a cynic. I fear that all it will really do is just make these jerks even more covert and secretive.

From a fan in Utah:
You have covered stories all over the world, which story impacted you the most? Is there any story or interview you wish you could do over?

Dear Utah Friend--
What story impacted me the most?--I was a young reporter working for the ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City. I was fresh out of journalism school and green as lettuce leaf.
It was a freezing winter night and we were called out to an apartment fire near Liberty Park. To make a long story short--there was a Vietnamese family living in the apartment with a lot of children. They had been robbed several times so they had nailed their back door shut. When the fire broke out none of them could escape.
As I stood there after several hours on that dark, cold, snowy night--I watched as fire fighters began bringing out the tiny bodies of several children in bags no bigger than pillow cases.
It’s an image that is burned into my soul and I think about it every time I have to do a story in which a child is the victim.
From ACAnderFan:
Mike what is it about the FLDS that drew you to it and made you want to cover it so extensively???

Dear ACAnder Fan--
I don’t want to be too long winded or repetitive in my responses. From some of the previous questions you’ve probably gotten a pretty good idea how I started my journey into the polygamous underworld--growing up in Utah with a Mormon background and then just stumbling into one polygamy story after another as a young reporter. That’s pretty much the bottom line.
From Sapphire:
If you could clear up one misconception about the entire Warren Jeffs story, what would it be? As a reporter, if you could cover any one story in history what would it be and why?

Dear Sapphire--What misconceptions would I like to clear up about Warren Jeffs? It’s not so much a factual error but instead what I personally believe to be an error in theology. It is my personal belief that any theology that places women in a position lesser than men is not ordained of God. It is instead made-up by men--to service men.

What story in history would I most like to cover? I would have loved to have been in the American South during the Civil Rights Movement--in South Africa as apartheid crumbled--and I will always be grateful that I was ringside as some very courageous women helped bring down a tyrant in Colorado City.
Why? I love it when the underdog stands up to power and abuse and wins!

From Granny:
I thought that polygamy in itself was against the law so I guess my question is why are these people above the law?

Dear Granny--
They have indeed been above the law for a long time. But, hopefully, the conviction of Warren Jeffs means all that is beginning to change.


Thanks for the great questions--Mike Watkiss

And I'll leave you with Halloween greetings from all of us at All Things Anderson.

art courtsey of Lori


Anonymous said...

Mick looks so good in NY. It's sort of like coming back to reality having him discuss Iraq again.

Jennifer said...

360 it was good tonight. Soledad did a good job, but I miss hearing and seeing Anderson report the news. I'm wondering what's up with the AC360 producers being laid off while Anderson is away. To me it looks like they could have waited until Anderson came back home. That's just my opinion

BookAsylum said...

@Mike- thanks for answering our questions!

@phebe- thanks once again for putting together a great Q&A!

Unknown said...

Thanks to Mike! You answered our questions so thoroughly. Good luck in the future and keep fighting the good fight :)

ACAnderFan said...

360 was GREAT last nite. Honestly one of the best I have seen in a while. I just think that Soledad dose and excellent job filling in for AC.

Interesting that the producers are laid off when AC is gone for the week. However, I guess this lay off just confirms what we already knew...no more 2 hours of 360.

Mike did a terrfic job answering our questions :) Thanks Mike!!!

m.minkoff said...

I hope Anderson knew about the lay-offs in his production staff before he left. If he didn't, it's a really tacky way of doing business, and that's an understatement. Still, I don't really understand what's going on with the new format. I got home in the middle of the first hour. No worries, it would be repeated, right? Well, I watched for the next hour and a half and I never saw Mick Ware and the "live" caption remained in the corner the entire program. What gives? No repeat tonight with Soledad anchoring? I am flummoxed.

Soledad as a sub anchor is OK, but I prefer John King. I do miss Anderson and it's only Tuesday. I meant to say in my previous comment that when AC came to SoCal to report on the fires, I felt oddly comforted. I am sure our state government is a lot more competent than that of Louisiana - I've lived in both places so I'm allowed to say that - yet still I felt that it was good to have Anderson here keeping them honest. There was so much non-stop coverage of the wildfires on all the local channels here that I finally had to turn it off, because truth be told, it was beginning to give me nightmares. I was dreaming of walls of flames. As humble as he is, I don't think Anderson realizes how much power to do good that he really does have.

The q & a with Mike Watkiss is very interesting. You all asked some very good questions and I enjoyed reading it.

Cyn said...

Wonderful to see Michael in NY... too darned bad they chose tonight to not repeat the first hour!

Interesting Q&A with Mike Watkiss. We are so fortunate to have so many kick-ass journalists out there, digging out the truth.

copperfish said...

I don't know how things worked in CNN or whether or not AC knew about the laid off but 7 producers is quite a lot to be laid off. From what I know producers are the ones responsible for coming up a segment or story to be shown on the program. He/she has a team to work on a story like researchers, cameraman and if I'm still right he/she also handles the budget to produce a certain story/segment. So maybe you're right that if there are less people working in the production department of the program, there is the probability that the program will shift to it's one hour programming. But isn't it that before this it was already on a one hour format? Hmmm...it suddenly comes to mind of what the big bosses did to Aaron Brown. I hope not...I hope not.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if the layoffs happened last week and it is just getting to the news this week.

Sapphire said...

Thank you Mike for taking the time to do a Q&A with us. Your answers were terrific and we really appreciate you for talking with us.

It seems like when Soledad is on she is on Live for 2 hours. The second hour when Soledad was on was LIVE. Some of the stories were repeated but she was live and this is not the first time. I don't get why Anderson and the other subs don't go on for 2 hours but I guess this is one of those things makes you go Hum?!?!?!

It is too bad those producers were let go from 360 but hopefully they will go to other shows on CNN and not let go from CNN all together. That would be sad.

It was sooooo good it see Mick in studio last night. I really like it when he is in studio, safe and sound.

It is Wednesday people....only a few more days without Anderson

Roonie said...

That was a very cool q/a! Mike, that was excellent, thanks so much!

I really like Soledad subbing for AC. Actually, there usually isn't anyone who I don't like subbing. I like how they rotate through people so we get to see them all :)

Martini Sherri said...

Ok you guys are scaring me...what is going on at AC360?!?! Anywho I like Obrien and I miss her in the morning but I love AC.

Em said...

Thank you Mike for answering our questions. Your series, the Polygamy Diaries was fantastic. In my opinion, your reporting on the FLDS has been instrumental in keeping the focus on Warren and forcing the authorities to act. After all, most of the country would never have heard of women like Flora Jessop and the Faun's if not for you and a few other journalists. Like you, I have lived surrounded by polygamy for many years but didn’t think much about it until I found myself in a position to help one of the women trying to leave an abusive polygamist husband. Once you meet one of these women, it becomes very hard to ignore. I am glad your were in position to try to do something about it. Like you, I am also a bit cynical and fervently hope there isn’t another Warren waiting in the wings to take his place. Thank you for being as “real” in your answers to our questions as I have observed you to be in your reporting. As for your response, “It is my personal belief that any theology that places women in a position lesser than men is not ordained of God. It is instead made-up by men--to service men,” all I can say is AMEN!

p.s. My condolences on the loss of your good friends. What a tragic accident. I am glad you have great memories of them.

Anonymous said...

I thiink it was also great to see Soledad for 2 live
hours. I have a feeling that 360 will be live for
maybe 15-30 minutes for hour 2. 2008 is an
election year.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if layoffs happened due to the mistakes happened the previous week, not sure if anyone of you guys noticed but, in about two days of that week there were some serious mistakes on ac360, one day at 2 am repeat( yea, I was watching cause I missed the live) but, anyways, whoever was in transmission room that day was a disaster, they were forwarding and rewinding the tape ON AIR, there were lots( bout two good 3-5 min) blank, I mean blank! screens with just nothing on! and cut-offs, the whole repeat was just a disaster now, may be people weren't watching at that time but, it happened again when Anderson was live the same week if guys remember when they cut him off LIVE! and put something else?

lori said...

Congrats, Phebe, for another great Q&A session. Excellent questions from our fine ATA readers as well.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
m.minkoff said...

Hmmm.... I just had a thought about the producers who were let go. Maybe it had nothing to do with a one hour vs. a two hour show and they only said that to allow the people to save face. There could be a lot of reasons from personality conflicts to a new person higher up wanting their own people to conflicts in philosophy to an attempt to cut costs to an attempt to raise ratings by giving more work to those who are more successful. We really don't know enough to say for sure it has anything to do with format change. I sincerely doubt if it will lead to the demise of Jonathan's golden boy. Fear not.

Anonymous said...

Why was Soledad live for two hours?

Anonymous said...

If the news release said only a small portion of the staff was affected, but 7 producers were fired, how big is the 360 staff?

And was Charlie Moore one of them?

Anonymous said...

I would imagine if Charlie Moore was one of them, we would have heard that, since I guess he is a relatively-known name and second in command after David Doss, isn't he?

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine Charlie being laid off after he produced PIP and with the ratings they received that week! There have been a few major screwups lately...like losing Andersons NOLA tapes! Here's to hoping they didn't layoff the people pushing the "hard news"! I would hate to think all those not impacted are people infatuated with Paris and Brittany and the ratings game. In recent interviews, Anderson has made it clear he knows his audience isn't terribly interesting in hearing those stories over and over again!

Anonymous said...

Neither Charlie nor David appear to be in Africa, and the 60 minutes pieces are usually done in conjunction with CNN to save money, so it's a valid question. Who would inform 'us'? Aren't we all getting info from the same essential press release?

As for the mistakes from last week, I didn't see them. But I didn't read about them either before now. Sometimes the digital sends get mashed up locally on cable outlets so maybe it wasn't a national dead air time event.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 4:13 PM: Not sure what you mean by CNN doing pieces with 60 Minutes to save money? You think he is in The Congo also doing a story for CNN and CNN and CBS split the costs for the trip?

Otherwise if it is simply a 60 Minutes piece, CBS would pick up the tab I would think.

Anonymous said...

Layoffs are a politically correct way of saying "you're fired." Not that it signifies poor quality or that an employee didn't live up to expectations, but it's often a sign of unrest and substantial changes in the ranks or on the horizon. Anderson might be tops on the CNN food chain, but, he takes from the kitty instead of putting dollars in. He's not a determining factor or go to person to discuss economic growth and vitality of CNN. I hope the layoffs aren't a sign of things to come.

Quitty said...

Thank you Mike! Cute pic Lori!

Happy Halloween everyone!