NBC’s Ron Allen On Egypt Coverage: ‘it was obvious that something really profound had happened’

By Alex Weprin 

When the news broke that Hosni Mubarak had stepped down as President of Egypt, NBC News correspondent Ron Allen was in the heart of Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“There was a very brief newscast that was projected on a screen,” Allen told TVNewser. “Suddenly people started running in that direction. From our vantage point we just saw people running and yelling and screaming and waving flags, and it was obvious that something really profound had happened.”

That something was the statement from VP Suleiman that Mubarak had resigned, and that the military was taking over control of the country.

As Allen recalls, the mood was starkly different following Mubarak’s speech last night:

“People last night felt betrayed, I think was one of the most powerful words that I heard,” he says. “They felt they were almost being duped, and taken for granted in a very profound and demeaning sort of way. Because there had been word that the president was going to resign, that had been filtering around the square so people were expecting that.

“This morning as the crowds arrived there was a new sense of determination, but there was  a lot of anger and a lot of frustration and uncertainly as to how the day was going to go. It turned into jubilation.”

When asked about how the mood felt compared a to few weeks ago, when foreign journalists were being attacked, Allen said that the focus should be on the protesters and the citizens… not the people being paid to cover them.

“I have said a number of times, this story was not about us,” he said. “We got hassled a little bit too, we got pushed and shoved. Nobody smashed my car window or beat me on the head or anything.”

It troubles me sometimes when journalists make themselves the story. I have traveled all over the world over my career and there have been much worse situation for journalists than what happened. I can name any number of colleagues over the years who have been killed, or kidnapped or held hostage for extended periods of time.

It was so much more about these people, especially the young people, and I just hope that continues to be the focus,” he added.