CBS Newser: ‘When We Go Up to the Front Line, It Can Be Pretty Scary’

By Brian Flood 

The 2014 Tyndall Report detailed the “CBS Evening News’s” focus on foreign coverage, specifically the crisis in Syria and Iraq (401 minutes for CBS vs. 252 on NBC vs. 167 for ABC). Last night, CBS’s flagship broadcast once again showed the network’s commitment to overseas reporting.

Foreign correspondent Holly Williams, CBS Evening News’s most-used correspondent in 2014, filed a report from the front lines of the conflict in Syria, while Elizabeth Palmer covered the raging battles  in Eastern Ukraine. Palmer will report again tonight from the region.

“When we go up to the front line, it can be pretty scary,” Williams told TVNewser. “We spend just a few hours there. There are people who are risking their lives every single day to defend their homes from the extremists.”

Williams gets the sense from her sources that ISIS is weaker – in part because of the U.S.-led air strikes, but she and other foreign journalists still take no chances. “The biggest challenge is actually getting the story without taking unnecessary risks. We can’t access ISIS territory, so we have to tell the story from outside – by filming the groups that are fighting against ISIS, or suffering at the hands of the extremists.”

Williams says locals are generally generous and hospitable, despite not always agreeing with U.S. policy.

“They understand that we don’t represent the American government. So we do spend quite a lot of time getting to know people before they agree to let us film,” she says.