Monday, May 29, 2006

First Responders to the Truth

We stateside photogs like to swagger all right, but none of us cranking out local tripe can hold a dying frezzi to the camera crews who embed themselves with our nation's military. Regardless of your politics, you've probably watched the war in Iraq from the comfort of your couch. Those pictures, whether they vindicate or enrage you, don't appear in your living room by magic. They're wrestled from the muck of war-torn strife with the blood, sweat and tears of the few broadcasters who choose to seek the ultimate access. That doesn't make them heroes; save that for the ones in uniform. They are however, the very best of my battered breed - state-of-the-art journalists, world-class adventurers and first responders to the truth.

From CNN

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Four people, including a U.S. soldier and two members of a CBS News crew, were killed Monday when a bomb ripped through the U.S. military convoy in which they were traveling. CBS said cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and sound tech James Brolan, 42, were killed in the blast. Both were British and based in London, the network said.

The U.S. military said a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi contractor also were killed in the attack on their convoy.

Six U.S. soldiers and CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier were wounded in the attack, the military said.

The attack came as the convoy passed through Tahariyat Square, just across the river from the Green Zone, around 10:30 a.m. Monday (3 a.m. ET).

The convoy victims were among at least 50 people killed in insurgent attacks in Iraq on Monday.

The CBS team -- which was embedded with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division -- was reporting from outside their Humvee and they were believed to have been wearing protective gear when the blast went off, according to CBS.

Dozier, 39, sustained serious injuries and underwent surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad.

Douglas had risked his life covering international conflicts for CBS since the early 1990s, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia, according to CBS News. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grandchildren.

Brolan was a freelancer who worked with CBS News in Baghdad and Afghanistan in the past year. He also shared an award with the network for its coverage of last year's deadly earthquake in Pakistan. He leaves a wife and two children

UPDATE - CBS News Statement...

Via TV Newser, Background on Paul Douglas:

"The CBS News family lost two gems today. Paul Douglas was one of the finest men I have ever known. He had a smile that could light up a room, a man who got the most out of every minute of life. He made us laugh every time we were with him. Paul started at CBS as a freelance soundman and quickly became one of our finest staff cameramen -- always willing to travel to the most horrible places on earth to do his work -- to shoot his pictures, record his sound and make live television work for all CBS News broadcasts. He was one of those heroes behind the camera -- never wanting the limelight -- only trying to make CBS's foreign news coverage better every day while providing for his wonderful family. And oh that smile!" -- CBS Public Eye

Via TV Newser a message from James Brolan's family:

"The Brolan family would like to thank everybody for their support and help at this time. James was the best dad, the best husband and the best mate to be with in a tight spot out in the field.

He leaves behind two children Sam, 18 and Agatha, 12 and his wife of 20 years Geri. James was born on April 7th 1964 in London where he has lived all his life. He met Geri in August 1984 on leave from the Royal Green Jackets (1983 to 1988) and knew instantly he'd met the woman he was going to marry.

James spent a couple of years after leaving the Army running his own painting and decorating business getting his break in TV as a sound recordist few years later. He travelled extensively round the world always fascinated by the places he visited. His unassuming nature and love of a practical joke often belied his well read, 'university of life intellect' - he always took great pleasure on the road beating his Harvard, Yale or Oxbridge educated correspondents at Scrabble and his knowledge of useless facts was unrivalled!

James had a natural way with people and was always in demand as the person to go with to the world's trouble spots; always putting the locals at ease, winning friends everywhere he went and always putting in his best effort. He will be greatly missed by his friends and family. --Geri, Sam and Agatha

1 comment:

Buckymania! said...

This was incredibly moving--thank you.