World News America

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World News America editor Rome Hartman's review of 2010

World News America editor Rome Hartman
By Rome Hartman
Editor, World News America

It is an occupational hazard of journalism that we tend to jump on stories with blanket coverage for a few days, and then just as suddenly walk away.

Sometimes it is because another compelling story comes along to distract us - often it is because we simply run out of imagination and creativity. We simply cannot find anything new to say about an event or issue.

But 2010 offers several examples of stories that tested and stretched our short attention spans - stories that were so important and so vivid that they simply refused to fade from view.

Suffering and survival

The year began with a devastating earthquake in Haiti. Both the physical damage and the human toll were on a scale that was hard to imagine, let alone cover and convey to our audience.

REPORTS FROM HAITI
A man tries to dig a body out of the rubble

We remain really proud of our coverage in those chaotic first days after the quake, and in the weeks that followed.

Matt Frei, Matthew Price, and Orla Guerin each supplied incredibly vivid stories of suffering and survival. We made it a point throughout the year not to let Haiti's plight be forgotten, returning every few weeks to take stock of the relief and reconstruction efforts.

And late in the year, Haiti demanded our attention yet again as an outbreak of cholera presented a new threat to its beleaguered population. Our Laura Trevelyan sent a series of memorable reports on a country coping with a new batch of trouble it definitely did not need.

Gulf spill challenges

You might call the middle of 2010 "the summer of the spill". A BP deepwater drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing several workers and triggering a spill of crude oil that took months to cap.

From the very beginning, we attempted to cover both the environmental and economic aspects of the story.

GULF COAST COVERAGE

The environment story was focused in the Gulf and along the coast, of course, but the economic repercussions were felt from Bayou La Batre, Alabama, all the way to London and beyond.

For days, then weeks, then months, the Gulf spill dominated the news agenda and tested our resources and abilities.

And though it now appears that the environmental impact is not as great as once feared and predicted, I think there are many more stories to be done in the coming months and years.

Doses of hope

On those rare days when a hopeful story deserved to be the lead, my former CBS News colleague Bob Schieffer used to love opening the CBS Evening News by saying: "How about a little good news for a change!"

Well, for almost two months late this year, the saga of the trapped Chilean miners offered us daily doses of hope, resilience, and technological marvels, culminating in the gripping day-long 'lift to freedom' of all 33 men - one of the most gripping live events in recent memory.

The BBC's Matt Frei and Tim Willcox documented and narrated every rescue and reunion. Really a remarkable end to an incredible story.

Oh, there ARE a few examples of stories we covered hard and then ignored in 2010.

Whatever happened to health-care reform in America, for example? And have we really done a good enough job of covering the impact of elections in the UK and the US?

I promise we will try harder in 2011.

FIRST PERSON SERIES
Trumpet player Terence Blanchard

First Person

Finally, one of the signature World News America features of which I am most proud is First Person.

At least once a week in 2010, we introduced you to people telling their own stories in their own words.

Everyone from Ruby Bridges, reflecting on her pioneering role in desegregating public schools in Louisiana 50 years ago, to a photographer who captures the unique essence of the Everglades.

I think the First Person features are among our most distinctive work.

Thanks for watching and clicking on our work, and please feel free to tell us how you think we did in 2010, and what you would like to see more and less of in 2011.



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SEE ALSO
2009: Editor's review of the year
22 Dec 09 |  World News America

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