In Haiti, Reporters Become the Story

By Andrew Gauthier 


As relief workers and international troops struggle to bring aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, an increasing amount of TV news coverage is being dedicated to reporters’ personal experiences in the chaotic climate of Port-au-Prince.

With security and order a major concern throughout the country, news reporters are finding themselves faced with situations in which they must decide whether to report or to help. On Monday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper became the center of the network’s coverage of looting and violence in Port-Au-Prince as he carried a young boy away from the melee. The boy had been struck by a chunk of concrete thrown from an angry mob; as Cooper pulled him away to safety, the boy’s forehead and face were wet with blood. (Video here)


CBS’s Katie Couric also put down the reporter mic to become an aid worker in Port-au-Prince. While reporting from a makeshift medical tent, Couric consoled a wailing boy whose leg was broken. In an editorial for The Huffington Post, Couric wrote of the experience, “I wish we could rescue the whole country from this unspeakable tragedy and unimaginable poverty.”

Cooper and Couric were not the only reporters helping in the relief effort as the cameras rolled. The Los Angeles Time reports that medical correspondents from CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN have all inserted themselves into their coverage, using their medical backgrounds to help ailing Haitians.

On Tuesday morning, NBC’s “Today” show aired a report from Jenna Wolfe, who grew up in Haiti, in which she searched for loved ones amidst the devastation. “For me, this was a very, very emotional trip,” she said.